In the framework of Low Emission Development, there is political momentum and a presumed win-win-win potential to reduce emissions from dairy, while increasing the productivity of cows and thereby people’s incomes in Kenya. This scenario requires integrative research to emissions from dairy, farming practices, the economics of dairy production, and the institutional and political feasibility. Focusing on the latter, I will share practices and challenges of studying the political economy of dairy development in Kenya.
Specifically, working on a project with scientists of different disciplines has shown the methodological challenge of sampling. I want to start from this challenge and reflect on the cause of the issue, how it was addressed, and what the consequences are for the research results as well as what it can tell us about the challenges of conducting integrative research with regards to methodology and theory. Additionally, I will reflect on more practical challenges regarding integrative research, in particular on my experiences with engaging with research participants as being part of an interdisciplinary team, and on ethical dilemmas. I will shortly reflect on the political economy of integrative research, and end with points of discussion regarding the integration of theories, where I could use most feedback.