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Drishti Centre for Integral Action, Integral ME Framework

Page history last edited by Alexandra Pittman 11 years, 9 months ago


Gail Hochachka and Sandra Thomson.  2009. “Toward an Integral Monitoring and Evaluation.” Drishti Centre for Integral Action.  


The Integral Research approach draws from mixed methods combining action research with Integral theory (Wilber 2000), specifically focusing on evaluating systems change, behavioral change, cultural change, and personal change related to capacity building for sustainable development. Hochachaka and Thomson (2009) detail their project developing an Integral Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to evaluate and monitor the integral capacity development approach in an environmental conservation and sustainable livelihoods project for the rural poor in Peru. Integral research (Wilber, 2000; Esbjörn-Hargens, 2006; Hochachka, 2008) draws on at least six lines of inquiry with various methods associated with each phase.[1]



  1. Reflective inquiry (related to self-reflection and interior dynamics) 
    Methods: Perspective-taking practice, journaling, and meditative inquiry
  2.  Developmental inquiry (values, attitudes, and self-identity) 
    Methods: Personal interviews, understanding individual meaning making
  3.  Interpretive inquiry (participation, local meaning, and cultural relevance)
    Methods: Focus groups
  4.  Ethno-methodological inquiry (social dynamics, social discourse, and worldviews)
    Method: Participant observation, assessment of shifts in ‘social center of gravity’, term relates to how a group’s social discourse changes over time
  5. Empirical inquiry (behavioral change and change in land use practices)
    Method: Empirical assessments, quantitative methodologies, ranking
  6. Systems inquiry (ecosystems, socio-political systems, economic systems, communications systems)
    Method: Empirical assessments, quantitative methodologies, ranking




  • The approach uses multiple and mixed methods for addressing different types of outcomes, ranging from internal beliefs and norms to collective behaviors, communications, and actions. 
  • Drawing from action and participatory research strengthens the relevance of the outcomes to local communities.
  • The focus on measuring individual meaning making and change in norms, attitudes, and beliefs is useful for making broader case about why change matters on the individual and collective levels. 


Weaknesses (or not designed for):


  • The ability of the M&E approach to track broader program challenges over time and feed back into program implementation is not immediately apparent.
  • The framework is limited given its specific focus on Integral Theory a particular philosophy and some its accompanying notions, such as the ‘social center of gravity’.  
  • We cannot easily ascertain why a program is working from this model.
  • The approach is limited in capturing unexpected outcomes, reversals, and consequences of the program.


[1]  This research focused on lines of inquiry 3-6.


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