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Philosophical Approaches to the Nursing Informatics Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Framework

Matney, Susan MSN, RN, FAAN; Brewster, Philip J. PhD; Sward, Katherine A. PhD, RN; Cloyes, Kristin G. PhD, RN; Staggers, Nancy PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e3182071813

Although informatics is an important area of nursing inquiry and practice, few scholars have articulated the philosophical foundations of the field or how these translate into practice including the often-cited data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (DIKW) framework. Data, information, and knowledge, often approached through postpositivism, can be exhibited in computer systems. Wisdom aligns with constructivist epistemological perspectives such as Gadamerian hermeneutics. Computer systems can support wisdom development. Wisdom is an important element of the DIKW framework and adds value to the role of nursing informaticists and nursing science.

Author Affiliations: Office of the Associate Vice President for Health Sciences Information Technology (Ms Matney), College of Nursing (Ms Matney and Drs Sward, Cloyes, and Staggers), Department of Biomedical Informatics (Dr Brewster, Sward, and Staggers), University of Utah, Salt Lake City; School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore (Dr Staggers).

Correspondence: Susan Matney, MSN, RN, FAAN, 1148 North Alice Lane, Farmington, UT 84025 (

We thank Dr Maeona K. Kramer for her review and insightful critique of this article.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.