Using our services

The Digital Observatory helps researchers and commercial clients to track, collect and analyse digital media data. We work with researchers from many universities. The Digital Observatory collaborates with researchers with a range of technical skills, from none at all through to highly proficient. We are able to tailor outputs and deliverables to researchers’ needs.

The Digital Observatory collaborates with researchers and organisations to determine their data and analytical requirements, allowing them to focus on their analysis and interpretation. The first step in using our services is to contact us by email or the expression of interest form below to set up an initial meeting where we will discuss the project topic and scope.

If agreed, the project then enters the feasibility stage, which involves refining data and methods, and possibly providing results of initial analyses (eg. frequencies of tweets in the Australian Twittersphere that contain the hashtag/s of interest). If the results of the feasibility stage are promising, the project will be formalised in the governance stage through the collaborative completion of terms of engagement, human research ethics (if applicable), and data management plan (if applicable). The project will then officially commence and move into the data and service provisioning stage. Once all deliverables are complete and provisioned, the project will close.

Data collection and analysis services

The Digital Observatory can provide either raw data or data analysed in a way that is relevant to the research question and able to be interpreted by the researcher.

Data analysis services include (but are not limited to):

  • descriptive analysis (eg. high-level context of Twitter data including hashtags, account mentions, links shared, images shared, and interactions between accounts)
  • detailed analysis and grouping/coding of hashtags, mentions and links shared into categories for further analysis (augmenting qualitative analysis with quantitative methods enabling larger amounts of data to be analysed qualitatively)
  • topic modelling on tweet text (eg. qualitative analysis of large quantities of text)
  • sentiment analysis (eg. categorising positive, negative or neutral content)
  • co-hashtag analysis (eg. use of hashtags together)
  • retweet and mention network construction and analysis (eg. who is talking to who)
  • networked coordinated behaviour analysis (eg. coordinated actions between accounts).

Data collection services include:

  • user population tweet collection
  • small scale follower/followee network collection
  • prospective search/streaming based collection
  • user population identification
  • web data archiving and processing (ie. scraping).

Data-related services include:

  • project consultation (eg. monthly sessions for six months to discuss your project with the Digital Observatory and obtain specialist advice)
  • professional services (eg. data scientist, software developer) for grants eg. 0.1 FTE for one year.

Ethics approval

If you are intending on publishing your findings or need access to raw tweet data (eg. tweet text, account information) then you will require ethics approval. There are also other situations in which you will require ethics approval, particularly when research questions require data about sensitive topics. If you are unsure about whether you need ethics approval, we are happy to discuss your research question with you and can refer you to an ethics advisor for further advice if necessary.


In general, the Digital Observatory tries to keep costs low for researchers by only charging on a cost-recovery basis. Within QUT, we also offer in-kind services in some cases, including:

  • PhD projects
  • small projects
  • projects in support of grant applications
  • services for Early Career Researchers.

Please get in touch to discuss your project and we can advise on any costs as appropriate.

Expression of interest

Contact us

Get in touch to find out what we can do for you.

Digital Observatory

Level 8, P Block
Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia

Postal address

Digital Observatory
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane QLD 4001