Research and analysis

Use of social media for research and analysis

This report examines how DWP could use social media data for social research purposes.


The use of social media for research and analysis: a feasibility study


We are aware that social media can be used as a potential source of data for research. It is used as a public platform for voicing opinions, sharing experiences and discussing public policy. Growing academic and commercial interest in social media analysis has stimulated theoretical and ethical debate. It has led to the development of new and innovative analytical methods designed to examine data.

We commissioned this study to explore:

  • how DWP might make use of these emerging analytical methods
  • the extent to which we could use social media data for social research purposes

We will consider the findings and recommendations in this report as we develop our analytical capabilities to increase our understanding about the effect our policies have on the public.

Authors: Jonathan Bright, Helen Margetts, Scott Hale and Taha Yasseri of the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.

Published 18 December 2014