In this dataset paper we describe our work on the collection and analysis of public WhatsApp group data. Our primary goal is to explore the feasibility of collecting and using WhatsApp data for social science research. We therefore present a generalisable data collection methodology, and a publicly available dataset for use by other researchers. To provide context, we perform statistical exploration to allow researchers to understand what public WhatsApp group data can be collected and how this data can be used. Given the widespread use of WhatsApp, our techniques to obtain public data and potential applications are important for the community.