Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Julia Walsh

Research Profile

I have recently completed my PhD in the Division of Health Sciences at Warwick Medical School. My research is based on exploring how unstructured data, in this case in the form of spontaneously generated online patient experiences (SGOPE) could be used to benefit both clinical practice and outcomes, while making the most effective use of health resources.

The overall focus of my thesis was to explore the potential of analysing unstructured text from social media posts related to patient experience to extend existing health research and augment EBHC – particularly in terms of assessing effectiveness, understanding how posters express perceived causation, to understand patient perspectives of self-management and the outcomes that they value. The project explored how online spaces offer an unparalleled window into understanding the patient perspective and have the potential to contribute real-time, real-world knowledge to existing evidence gaps.

My PhD involved taking a staged case study approach to analysing patient experience posts from SM as outlined below:

1. An exploratory study that compared a qualitative and basic NLP analysis on a small subset of unstructured SGOPE data.

2. An umbrella scoping review summarising the state of the art of how and why SGOPE data is currently used in health research.

3. Using a combination of NLP and corpus linguistics to undertake a large-scale analysis of patient reported experiences of Modafinil.

4. Contributing to the development of methods for use on other unstructured health data.

Prior to starting my doctoral studies, I completed an MSc in Health Sciences (Merit) and a BA (Hons) in Social Studies (First class), both at the University of Warwick.

Research Interests

My research interests include developing methods to augment knowledge to improve the evidence base for Evidence Based Medicine, outcome evaluation and health economics, combining natural language processing with linguistics to scale up qualitative research, mixed methods, identifying causation and causal inference, online patient experiences, causal dispositionalism, knowledge graphs, data science.


Professor Frances Griffiths


This research project is funded by a Warwick Medical School Scholarship.


Julia Walsh

j dot walsh dot 5 at warwick dot ac dot uk

Division of Health Sciences

Warwick Medical School

University of Warwick