Integral research is new and involves the application of Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). Very simply stated, Integral Theory recognizes that the methodology employed to reveal data depends upon the perspective, and different methodologies reveal different types of data.
An understanding of IMP can be useful in identifying gaps in research. IMP also guides integration of research data with an understanding of the ways in which different types of data can be complementary to one another. IMP investigation of social phenomena can also be effectively carried out by teams of researchers with different methodological areas of expertise.
Research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)reveals that ACEs are correlated with later life mental health, substance abuse, and health consequences. Our current fragmented service delivery system treats these problems as though they are separate concerns. Thus, the ACE research begins to call for an integral response.
Yet, the ACE research itself does not outline a comprehensive response strategy. Integral Theory guides the integration of social work prevention and intervention knowledge to inform the Integral response. Restorative Integral Support (RIS) is a model that facilitates decision-making about how to integrate locally available evidence-supported interventions (ESIs) and emerging practices consistent with practitioner skills and client preferences together within the context of therapeutic community supported by agency leadership and policy.
The RIS model is therefore applied to practice in a way that conceptually supports the practitioner in carrying out an integrative evidence-based practice process, which fosters the development of HEARTS (Healthy Environments And Relationships That Support). The Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) states that HEARTS Trump ACEs.
The establishment of an Integrally-informed Global HEARTS Center could further support post-disciplinary research teams in carrying out intervention, services, and other IMP research as RIS models emerge in more agencies and communities.