Free webinar

Contact us
 to schedule a one-hour free webinar 'Research design with the Idea Puzzle software', including a two-month free trial of the Idea Puzzle software for all users of your university email domain. To date, Ricardo Morais has lectured this webinar 367 times in 107 universities from 27 countries. On average, the knowledge imparted at the webinar was evaluated 9,5 in 10 by 1582 participants (12% response rate).

In this webinar, Ricardo Morais focuses on the 'Ph' of the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) by making explicit the philosophical assumptions of a doctoral research design. In particular, the theoretical framing of research (epistemology) as: 1) two keywords in a non-tautological relationship; 2) two opposing streams of thought for critical synthesis; 3) a research gap from previous conclusions; 4) a research question or hypothesis from five levels of knowledge depth; and 5) current answers or results as the state of the science; The methodological framing of research (methodology) as: 6) a meta philosophical stance from a matrix of four; 7) a research strategy from one of three meta toolboxes; 8) complementary data collection techniques; 9) data analysis techniques, including research software; and 10) one of three sets of incommensurable quality criteria; The empirical framing of research (ontology) as: 11) a unit of analysis i.e. entity or process; 12) a level of analysis i.e. scale; 13) nature of data as qualitative or quantitative; 14) origin of data as primary or secondary; and 15) an analytical or statistical sample; The rhetoric framing of research (axiology) as: 16) the study’s practical and ethical implications i.e. pathos; 17) quasi-inductive, hypothetic-deductive, or abductive logic i.e. logos; as well as 18) theoretical, methodological, and empirical limitations i.e. ethos; The authorial framing of research (axiology) as: 19) first-hand experience of the empirical phenomenon i.e. wisdom; 20) support network i.e. trust; and 21) economic resources i.e. funding and time.

1. Relation between epistemology, methodology, ontology, and axiology
2. Coherence between theory, method, data, rhetoric, and authorship
3. Empirical research as a system of 21 dilemmatic decisions


PhD candidates, doctoral supervisors, and lecturers of research methods/skills in any field of knowledge.


After the webinar, participants will be able to: a) acknowledge the relation between epistemology, methodology, ontology, and axiology; b) coherently align the theory, method, data, rhetoric, and authorship of a research proposal, article, or thesis with the Idea Puzzle software; and c) review the strengths and weaknesses of a research project in any field of knowledge.


Ricardo Morais, married and father of three daughters, is Assistant Professor of Management at Católica Porto Business School, and Director of Idea Puzzle. Since 2013, he coordinates the seminar 'How to design your PhD' at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) in Brussels. He holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, having graduated in Management from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Porto. He is also an alumnus of HPI School of Design Thinking in Germany. His research interests are interdisciplinary, including Philosophy of Science, Strategic Management, Design Thinking, and Spirituality in Management. Since 2002, he has published more than 30 academic articles, chapters, and papers about these topics and lectured in 107 universities from 27 countries. He is a member of the Philosophy of Science Association, Strategic Management Society, and Academy of Management.


Morais, R. (2023). Philosophy of science and doctoral research design: The case of the Idea Puzzle software. SAGE Research Methods Community, November 10.

Morais, R., & Brailsford, I. (2019). Knowledge visualisation for research design: The case of the Idea Puzzle software at the University of Auckland. In K.N. Sim (Ed.) Enhancing the role of ICT in doctoral research processes (pp. 46-66). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Parente, C., & Ferro, L. (2016). Idea Puzzle (, created by Ricardo Morais. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(3), 643-645.

Morais, R. (2010). Scientific method. In A. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.) Encyclopedia of case study research (Vol. 2, pp. 840-842), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Hasok Chang, Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Your course certainly constitutes an innovation in the teaching of Philosophy of Science.

Daniela Duca, Head of Product Innovation, SAGE Publishing, United Kingdom 

We love your approach and how the Idea Puzzle software helps students and early career researchers go through the process of developing their research. It aligns well with some of the areas we have been exploring with our Research Planner.

E. Alana James, SAGE book author and founder of Doctoral Net, United States of America

The Idea Puzzle software is a series of questions that, when taken iteratively, cement your ideas for your proposal. You will come to fully understand the philosophy behind the research you are designing.

Previous webinars/seminars
 Australia, Central Queensland University
 Australia, Flinders University
 Australia, University of South Australia, Quality in Postgraduate Research Conference (QPR)
 Australia, University of Wollongong
 Austria, Vienna University of Economics and Business, International Society for Professional Innovation Management Conference (ISPIM)
  Belgium, European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM)
 Belgium, European University Association Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE)
 Belgium, European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc)
 Brazil, Universidade Católica do Salvador
 Brazil, Universidade Federal de Goiás
 Brazil, Universidade Federal do Pará
 Chile, Universidad Bernard O'Higgins
 Chile, Universidad Catolica de la Santisima Concepción
 Chile, Universidad de Concepción
 Chile, Universidad del Bío-Bío
 Colombia, Universidad de San Buenaventura Cali, Ibero-American Congress of Management Control (CIBEC)
 Denmark, Aalborg University
 Denmark, Southern Denmark University
 Estonia, Estonian Business School
 Finland, Aalto University
 Finland, Finnish Graduate School of Applied Bioscience
 Finland, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences
 Finland, Hanken School of Economics
 Finland, The Finnish Doctoral Programme in Business Studies (KATAJA)
 Finland, University of Jyväskylä
 Finland, University of Tampere
 Finland, University of Vaasa
 Germany, Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber, Dresden
 Germany, Kühne Logistics University
 Indonesia, Telkom University
 Ireland, Doctoral Net
 Latvia, Riga Stradins University
 Lithuania, ISM University of Management and Economics
 New Zealand, University of Auckland
 Pakistan, GC University Lahore
 Poland, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology
 Portugal, Academia Militar
 Portugal, Escola Superior Artística do Porto
 Portugal, Escola Superior de Saúde de Viana do Castelo
 Portugal, Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde do Porto
 Portugal, Escola Superior de Turismo e Tecnologia do Mar
 Portugal, Escola Superior Gallaecia
 Portugal, Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique
 Portugal, Instituto de Estudos Superiores de Fafe
 Portugal, Instituto de Telecomunicações
 Portugal, Instituto Piaget
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico da Guarda
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico de Beja
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico de Leiria
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico de Santarém
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave
 Portugal, Instituto Politécnico do Porto
 Portugal, Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing
 Portugal, Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão
 Portugal, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto
 Portugal, ISCTE
 Portugal, ISMAI  Universidade da Maia
 Portugal, Sociedade Portuguesa de Terapia da Fala
 Portugal, Universidade Aberta
 Portugal, Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa
 Portugal, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
 Portugal, Universidade da Beira Interior
 Portugal, Universidade da Madeira
 Portugal, Universidade de Aveiro
 Portugal, Universidade de Coimbra
 Portugal, Universidade de Évora
 Portugal, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
 Portugal, Universidade do Algarve
 Portugal, Universidade do Minho
 Portugal, Universidade do Porto
 Portugal, Universidade dos Açores
 Portugal, Universidade Europeia
 Portugal, Universidade Fernando Pessoa
 Portugal, Universidade Lusíada
 Portugal, Universidade Lusófona
 Portugal, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
 Portugal, Universidade Portucalense
 Portugal, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa
 Romania, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi
 Romania, Gheorghe Asachi Technical University of Iasi
 Slovakia, University of Economics in Bratislava
 South Africa, The Independent Institute of Education
 South Africa, University of the Western Cape
 Spain, Asociación Iberoamericana de Control de Gestión
 Spain, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
 Spain, Universidad de La Coruña
 Spain, Universidad de León
 Spain, Universidad Nebrija
 Spain, Universidade de Vigo
 Spain, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
 Spain, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
 Spain, Universitat de Barcelona
 Spain, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
 Spain, Universitat Rovira i Virgili
 Sweden, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
 Sweden, Stockholm School of Economics
 Sweden, Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship
 Sweden, University of Uppsala
 Switzerland, University of St. Gallen
 United Arab Emirates, University of Wollongong in Dubai
 United Kingdom, Liverpool John Moores University
 United Kingdom, University of Essex
 United Kingdom, University of Lancaster
 United Kingdom, University of Salford
 United States, UCLA University of California, Los Angeles