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Mathematics LibreTexts

7: Techniques of Integration


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We saw in the previous chapter how important integration can be for all kinds of different topics—from calculations of volumes to flow rates, and from using a velocity function to determine a position to locating centers of mass. It is no surprise, then, that techniques for finding antiderivatives (or indefinite integrals) are important to know for everyone who uses them. We have already discussed some basic integration formulas and the method of integration by substitution. In this chapter, we study some additional techniques, including some ways of approximating definite integrals when normal techniques do not work.

  • 7.0: Prelude to Techniques of Integration
    In a large city, accidents occurred at an average rate of one every three months at a particularly busy intersection. After residents complained, changes were made to the traffic lights at the intersection. It has now been eight months since the changes were made and there have been no accidents. Were the changes effective or is the eight-month interval without an accident a result of chance? We explore this question later in this chapter and see that integration is an essential part of determin
  • 7.1: Integration by Parts
    The advantage of using the integration-by-parts formula is that we can use it to exchange one integral for another, possibly easier, integral.
  • 7.2: Trigonometric Integrals
    Trigonometric substitution is an integration technique that allows us to convert algebraic expressions that we may not be able to integrate into expressions involving trigonometric functions, which we may be able to integrate using the techniques described in this section. In addition, these types of integrals appear frequently when we study polar, cylindrical, and spherical coordinate systems later. Let’s begin our study with products of sin x and cos x.
  • 7.3: Trigonometric Substitution
    The technique of trigonometric substitution comes in very handy when evaluating integrals of certain forms. This technique uses substitution to rewrite these integrals as trigonometric integrals.
  • 7.4: Partial Fractions
    In this section, we examine the method of partial fraction decomposition, which allows us to decompose rational functions into sums of simpler, more easily integrated rational functions.
  • 7.5: Other Strategies for Integration
    In addition to the techniques of integration we have already seen, several other tools are widely available to assist with the process of integration. Among these tools are integration tables, which are readily available in many books, including the appendices to this one. Also widely available are computer algebra systems (CAS), which are found on calculators and in many campus computer labs, and are free online.
  • 7.6: Numerical Integration
    The antiderivatives of many functions either cannot be expressed or cannot be expressed easily in closed form (that is, in terms of known functions). Consequently, rather than evaluate definite integrals of these functions directly, we resort to various techniques of numerical integration to approximate their values. In this section we explore several of these techniques. In addition, we examine the process of estimating the error in using these techniques.
  • 7.7: Improper Integrals
    In this section, we define integrals over an infinite interval as well as integrals of functions containing a discontinuity on the interval. Integrals of these types are called improper integrals. We examine several techniques for evaluating improper integrals, all of which involve taking limits.
  • 7.E: Techniques of Integration (Exercises)
    These are homework exercises to accompany OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.


Gilbert Strang (MIT) and Edwin “Jed” Herman (Harvey Mudd) with many contributing authors. This content by OpenStax is licensed with a CC-BY 3/0 license. Download for free at