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Transdisciplinary Problem Solving

A guide to transdisciplinary problem solving resources available from the ANU Library

Integration (integrative)

Integrative is one of the core characteristics of transdisciplinary problem solving (see ANU Framework for Transdisciplinary Problem Solving). The ability to synthesise different kinds of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge into a better understanding of a problem, as well as formulating a better response to it, is an important part of achieving the ANU graduate attribute Capability to Employ Discipline-based Knowledge in Transdisciplinary Problem Solving.

Coverage of integration is often included in texts dealing more generally with interdisciplinarity and includes treatment of one or more of: what is being integrated (eg different epistemologies, mental models, and/or judgments), method/s are used for integration (eg dialogue or modelling methods) and conditions required for successful integration (additional time, reflexivity, development of a common language, productive disagreement).  

The subtopic of incommensurability has been added as it is also critical to recognise that not all of the diversity provided by taking a pluralistic approach can be neatly integrated. Sometimes there is just no common ground between different perspectives. Sometimes integration is thwarted by the specific circumstances at play; for example power asymmetry may lead to a take-over by one perspective (sometimes referred to as disciplinary capture or epistemicide) rather than integration. 

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