eCite Digital Repository

Social Media Sentiment Analysis: A New Empirical Tool for Assessing Public Opinion on Crime?


Prichard, P and Watters, P and Krone, T and Spiranovic, C and Cockburn, HM, Social Media Sentiment Analysis: A New Empirical Tool for Assessing Public Opinion on Crime?, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 27, (2) pp. 217-236. ISSN 1034-5329 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright unknown

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1080/10345329.2015.12036042


‘Big data’ presents many interesting opportunities and challenges. This article focuses on the potential use of social media sentiment analysis as a legitimate tool for criminological research to better understand public perceptions of crime problems and public attitudes to responses to crime. While a degree of scepticism should always apply to the use of unsubstantiated sources on the internet, SMSA is likely to be a rich source of valuable information. Observational SMSA research presents low-level risks in terms of human research ethics principally because the information derived is unlikely to lead to the identification of research subjects. It is arguable, but less certain, that material posted publicly online does not attract a reasonable expectation of privacy for the author. However, the strength of this argument may depend on the particular circumstances in which the material to be analysed was posted.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sentiment analysis – big data – criminological research – privacy – attitudes to crime – research ethics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Criminology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Prichard, P (Professor Jeremy Prichard)
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, C (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
UTAS Author:Cockburn, HM (Dr Helen Cockburn)
ID Code:105825
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Faculty of Law
Deposited On:2016-01-15
Last Modified:2017-11-01

Repository Staff Only: item control page