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One of the most crucial but at the same time very underappreciated steps in research is to define a good hypothesis and research question. This task becomes even more challenging when unstructured data are intended to be used. In this project, we will tackle the issues of how to define a good research question for projects that integrate unstructured data.


Unstructured data are important sources of health information that are generated by digital technologies. These digital technologies open up many opportunities which might be missed when there is not enough guidance and understanding of how to use digital unstructured data in an effective, reliable and ethical way. In other words, without frameworks of interpretation of the data output, no useful knowledge can be derived.


There appears to exist very limited guidance on how to approach the formulation of a good research question and hypothesis for projects utilizing digital unstructured data. Current concepts and theories that can inform the formulation of new hypotheses and questions need to be adjusted to the new universe of data at hand. These aspects are particularly important since unlike other issues such as standardization problems, the problem of alignment with a good hypothesis and research question can be solved in the research community.


Given the diversity of our and other DSI communities, as well as the excellent teaching platforms provided by DSI (Studium Digitale, DSI Excellence Program for PhDs) we believe that there is not only a strong need for  teaching materials appropriate for the digital revolution going but also a high chance of success for launching a sustainable course offering under the DSI-banner.


With this project, we hope to make a long-lasting contribution to science education and capacity building at DSI and the UZH (as well as to promoting the work and expertise of the DSI health community). The project has three main objectives:

  1. To define DSI Approach and Checklist in a serie of 3 Workshops
  2. To write an manuscript
  3. To create teaching tools

1. Workshop "Framework & Terminology"

In the first workshop, we will focus on collecting and discussing frameworks, approaches and concepts for research question development from different fields.


Date: March 11th, 2-4 pm

Place: Zoom


2. Workshop "DSI Approach & Checklist"

In the second workshop, we will focus on adapting the existing frameworks to the research projects with digital unstructured data. We will develop a checklist that will guide researchers in finding a feasible, relevant study question.

Date: June 8

Place: Zoom

3. Workshop "Checklist finalization & Manuscript"

In the last workshop, we will finalize the checklist and work on a manuscript that will accompany the newly developed frameworks and checklist.


Date: November 18

Place: Zoom

Sign up

If you are interested in participating in one or more of the workshops, please write us an email: