The focus of this paper is a particular set of actions which have become broadly known as ‘service delivery’ protests. It considers various protest datasets currently being used to inform understandings of ‘service delivery’ protest action. The limitations of each of these databases are highlighted and discussed in order to stimulate thinking about the possible development of independent, critical and accessible sources of protest data. Recommendations are made as to the improvement of quantitative data sources on protest action. The paper argues that ‘service delivery’ is a complex phenomenon which requires further critical examination as well as rigorous and co-ordinated data-collection initiatives. It concludes that the development of comprehensive, informed and reliable data sources can support improved critical reflections on the meanings and consequences of ‘service delivery’ protest for purposes of transformation and development at community-level.