Word Adjacency Graph Modeling: Separating Signal From Noise in Big Data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


There is a need to develop methods to analyze Big Data to inform patient-centered interventions for better health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a method to explore Big Data to describe salient health concerns of people with epilepsy. Specifically, we used Word Adjacency Graph modeling to explore a data set containing 1.9 billion anonymous text queries submitted to the ChaCha question and answer service to (a) detect clusters of epilepsy-related topics, and (b) visualize the range of epilepsy-related topics and their mutual proximity to uncover the breadth and depth of particular topics and groups of users. Applied to a large, complex data set, this method successfully identified clusters of epilepsy-related topics while allowing for separation of potentially non-relevant topics. The method can be used to identify patient-driven research questions from large social media data sets and results can inform the development of patient-centered interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-185
Number of pages20
JournalWestern journal of nursing research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Big Data
  • epilepsy
  • informatics
  • machine learning
  • methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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