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'PhD' means 'Doctor of Philosophy'. Yet, most doctoral students have never attended a course on Philosophy of Science (Abrahamson, 2008). They thus visualise their research project as a sequence of tasks such as the literature review, data collection, and data analysis rather than a system of dilemmatic decisions (McGrath, 1981that integrates epistemology, methodology, ontology, and axiology (Tsang, 2016). Such a gap may explain the fact that almost 50% of North American students fail to complete their PhD in 10 years (CGS, 2007). It is not a problem of time, but of focus. 


The 
Idea PuzzleŽ software is therefore a visual decision-making tool with 21 decisions that supports integrative thinking for research design based on Philosophy of Science (Morais, 2010). In particular, it integrates the theory, method, data, rhetoric, and authorship of a research project to focus an academic text such as a research proposal, a thesis, or a journal article. The Idea PuzzleŽ software asks 21 questions, helps answer them, and allows the self-evaluation of each answer. The sequence of 21 questions follows a funnel logic to help focusing the research design.


The output of the Idea PuzzleŽ software is a research design with around 2000 words, an overall score and a visual jigsaw puzzle, based on the 21 answers and the respective self-evaluation (examples: DesignEngineeringManagement; MedicinePsychology). The estimated time to complete a research design is of one working day, ideally six months after enrolling in a PhD.


The main benefits of the Idea PuzzleŽ software are the coherent design and defence of a research project from the point of view of Philosophy of Science. In 2016, the Academy of Management Learning & Education (4.235 5-Year Impact Factor) considered the Idea PuzzleŽ software "a very useful tool for research across a multitude of disciplines, not only for PhD students as they learn about all of the elements of research project design, but also for reviewers and research project teams" (Parente & Ferro, 2016, p. 645). To date, the Idea PuzzleŽ software has helped design around 4000 research projects worldwide.

The access to the Idea PuzzleŽ software is exclusively online, without installation in the computer, upon registration with an email from a
licensed university (free) or individual subscription (19 euros per year). The university licence (1000 euros per year for an unlimited number of users) includes the access to the Idea Puzzle Prize, a free seminar, and joint publications. Contact us to offer a free trial of the Idea PuzzleŽ software to the doctoral candidates, supervisors, and methodology teachers at your university.