Data, Information, Evidence, and Knowledge: A Proposal for Health Informatics and Data Science

Olaf Dammann


In this commentary , I revisit and modify Ackoff’s data-information-knowledge-wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy. I suggest to de-emphasize the wisdom part and to insert evidence between information and knowledge (DIEK). This framework defines data as raw symbols, which become information when they are contextualized. Information achieves the status of evidence in comparison to relevant standards. Evidence is used to test hypotheses and is transformed into knowledge by success and consensus. As checkpoints for the transition from evidence to knowledge I suggest relevance, robustness, repeatability, and reproducibility.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *