Integrative propositional analysis (IPA) is an approach to assessing and improving theories (such as strategic plans, actions plans, theories of change), based on the structure of the theory, rather than relying on evidence alone. These resources show how you can use IPA for improving knowledge for practical decision-making on a variety of topics.
Using IPA to visualize, integrate, and assess evaluation findings
In a 2017 article in the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation (JMDE), Danielle Houston, Bernadette Wright, and Steven E. Wallis, describe how they visualized, integrated, and assessed the quality and usefulness of knowledge gained from the NMAC (formerly National Minority AIDS Council) Strong Communities evaluation. They used integrative propositional analysis to integrate literature and interview results.
Integrating literature and interview results helped to identify several actions where providers of HIV-related services could increase their impact on combating the HIV epidemic among the communities they serve.
Read the article at JMDE (11 pages)
Using IPA for understanding and reducing poverty
In this June 2019 paper in Kybernetes, Steven E. Wallis and Bernadette Wright used IPA to evaluate and synthesize a total of 10 theories of poverty, from five diverse organizations and five academic disciplines. All of the theories scored low in measures of systemicity, complexity, and loops, suggesting limitations of the theories for understanding or resolving the problem,
This interdisciplinary paper provides a new structural perspective on why we have
not been able to solve the poverty problem – and shows how far we have yet to go to reach success.
Download the paper at researchgate.net (16 pages)
Using IPA for evaluating policies of U.S. presidential candidates
In this 2016 paper, Steven E. Wallis, Bernadette Wright, and Franklin David Nash used IPA to evaluate the economic policies of 15 candidates for U.S. president in 2016, as stated on the candidates’ websites.
Although the policies of individual candidates tend to have low levels of Breadth and Depth, IPA provides a path to combine the many maps and work towards creating a single policy with a greater likelihood of success.
Download the paper at MeaningfulEvidence.com (16 pages)
Using IPA for evaluating entrepreneurship theories
In this 2015 article in SAGE Open, Bernadette Wright and Steven E. Wallis present results of their study using IPA to integrate and evaluate nine theories of entrepreneurship. The results highlighted several implications for choosing entrepreneurship theories to teach, research, and apply. The results also provided implications for integrating theories to advance the field more quickly.
The choice of which entrepreneurship theories to teach and encourage is important for many reasons.
Download the article at SAGE Open (9 pages)
In a June 2015 guest post on the American Evaluation Association’s AEA365 blog, Bernadette Wright discusses highlights of her research with Dr. Wallis using IPA to integrate and evaluate theories of entrepreneurship.
Integrative Propositional Analysis (IPA) is an emerging method to analyze and integrate theories across studies, strategic plans, and other documents.
Reading list: Integrative propositional analysis, causal knowledge mapping, & assessing research quality
This reading list provides descriptions and links to materials for further reading on the academic research behind IPA, examples of how IPA is applied, software/tools for creating knowledge maps, tools for assessing the quality of evidence across methods and disciplines, and more.