The investigation of health-related topics on TikTok: a descriptive study protocol

Joelie Mandzufas, Jeremiah Ayalde, Daniel Ta, Emily Munro, Rigel Paciente, Emmanuel Philip Pranoto, Kaelyn King, Kelly How, Alanna Sincovich, Mary Brushe, Nicole Wickens, Gabriella Wells, Alix Woolard, Melinda Edmunds, Hannah Thomas, Gina Trapp, Karen Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The social media application TikTok allows users to view and upload short-form videos. Recent evidence suggests it has significant potential for both industry and health promoters to influence public health behaviours. This protocol describes a standardised, replicable process for investigations that can be tailored to various areas of research interest, allowing comparison of content and features across public health topics. The first 50 appearing videos in each of five relevant hashtags are sampled for analysis. Utilising a codebook with detailed definitions, engagement metadata and content variables applicable to any content area is captured, including an assessment of the video’s overall sentiment (positive, negative, neutral). Additional specific coding variables can be developed to provide targeted information about videos posted within selected hashtags. A descriptive, cross-sectional content analysis is applied to the generic and specific data collected for a research topic area. This flexible protocol can be replicated for any health-related topic and may have a wider application on other platforms or to assess changes in content and sentiment over time. This protocol was developed by a collaborative team of child health and development researchers for application to a series of topics. Findings will be used to inform health promotion messaging and counter-advertising.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2023


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