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Delectus - Scientific Journal, Inicc-Perú - [ISSN: 2663-1148]




Vol. 6 No. 1 (2023): January-June [Edit closure: 31/01/2023]

RECEIVED: 14/06/2022 | ACCEPTED: 17/07/2022 | PUBLISHED: 31/01/2023

Suggested quote (APA, seventh edition)

Rodríguez, R. (2023). Doctoral production and transmethods. Delectus, 6(1), 47-58.

Doctoral production and transmethods

Rosselys Rodríguez


The purpose of this article was to investigate the level of progress on the use of transmethods in the doctoral production generated during the years (2015-2020). A documentary type methodology was used, which included the selection and systematization of the bibliography related to the points of interest, using the Zotero tool and the qualitative analysis software ATLAS ti.8. Among the findings, the following were specified: first, the academic who is motivated to pursue a doctorate should know its meaning and the implications of the training process; second, the development of a doctoral work in the framework of an unstable society should be approached from a methodology that fits its complexity as a means to reveal reality through an interdisciplinary and dialogic process; and, thirdly, the researches made from transcomplexity are of a high academic level, since they demonstrated the ability to design a novel methodological structure and the use of multi-methods to achieve a theoretical construction. It is concluded that when wishing to pursue a doctoral degree, applicants should be informed about the meaning and implications of the training process; in addition to the competencies to be strengthened to achieve the realization of doctoral production.

Keywords: doctorate; research; methodology; transcomplexity; transmethods.

Today's society is more unstable and incomprehensible every day, the pandemic scenario accelerated the use of technology and turned it into one of the main means to develop most of the subjects' daily activities. This environment is described by Bauman (2008) as liquid due to the fragility of social structures and the presence of communication as the central axis of the processes; features that unquestionably affect the generation of knowledge, including the doctoral level.

In this uncertain social context, doctoral programs are of utmost importance, given that epistemic responses to social conflicts germinate from them, i.e., in these programs, problems are studied in depth and possible options for their solution are proposed within the framework of sustainability and sustainability, thus contributing to create environments prepared to respond to external demands. According to Jacomé (2016):

Studying for a doctorate is a path that develops professional, academic and human skills; it allows us to forge our character, strengthen our will and perseverance, and transform our vision of society by assuming the responsibility of proposing solutions to the problems of our community, from each of our fields of action (p. 1).

Como As can be seen, the relevance of fifth level studies and the urgency of increasing scientific production is a matter of interest for universities; as expressed by Aguirre, Castrillón and Arago-Alzate (2019) Latin America seeks to be a reference in high quality in terms of academic production.

To achieve the above, universities must adopt new research orientations adapted to the current chaotic social archetype, being of interest, transcomplexity, an episteme that merges complexity and transdisciplinarity for the study of phenomena. However, despite the correctness of this transcomplex vision for the understanding of this unstable world, according to a study conducted by Alfonzo and Villegas (2017) on graduate work "research is still traditional, disciplinary and reductionist" (p.8).

Based on the previously mentioned, the intention of this article is to investigate the level of progress on the use of transmethods in the doctoral production generated in the period (2015-2020). Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the results section will be structured considering the following points:

  1. Doctoral production and its operational taxonomy.
  2. Transcomplex research and transmethods.
  3. Doctoral production generated from transcomplexity.

The methodology was of the documentary type, it began with the selection and systematization of the bibliography related to the topics of interest using the Zotero tool; this methodology according to Coral (2016) was defined as: "An analysis of documents about a topic that is being tracked. It presents published information on a topic and poses an organization of that material according to a point of view. It is used to compile and comment on published literature on a topic" (p.1).

To select the papers from the scientific databases, keywords were used, including: doctoral work, doctoral research, transcomplexity, transcomplex, transcomplex, transcomplex, and transmethods; from the papers found, those that were within the time range studied, i.e., from 2015 to 2020, were taken. Then, the information already collected and systematized was carefully studied in order to extract the ideas that strengthened the argumentative scientific writing included in the paragraphs of the following sections. Additionally, the qualitative analysis software Atlas ti was used. 8 was used for the exploration of the doctoral works elaborated under the episteme of transcomplexity during the indicated period, a tool that allowed, in turn, to obtain information on the scientific level reached by them.

Once the bibliographic information had been categorized and analyzed, the narrative of the results section was prepared following the sequence established in the introduction. In that sense, in order to know the level of progress on the use of transmethods in doctoral production during the period (2015-2020), first of all, it was necessary to explain the terms related to doctoral production and its operational taxonomy, i.e., what is a doctor, what is doctoral production and what is the operational taxonomy of this type of work.
In relation to the definition of Doctor (PhD) or Doctor of Philosophy, this is considered a high-level researcher in a specific scientific area, oriented to produce knowledge and to be a manager of social transformation.  Up to this moment a PhD is the highest academic level granted by a university in an area of knowledge, to obtain this degree the doctoral candidate must present and approve a doctoral thesis; during this training period the person in question must have demonstrated the acquisition of techniques and skills to carry out a process of scientific research, generate intellectual production and therefore make contributions to the scientific community. In order to reinforce the above, Table 1 shows various definitions of PhD generated by various institutions:

Table 1.
Definitions of Doctor (PhD) from different points of view

Author Definition
The Council of Graduate Schools: The doctor's degree in professional fields. Washington (1971). The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) should be given in recognition of readiness for research in a particular field of learning, whether pure or applied. A student may appropriately complete the professional doctoral degree, such as the M.D., and take the research or Ph.D. degree, or vice versa.
The Council of Graduate Schools: The Doctor of Philosophy Degree (1990). USA. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is the highest academic degree awarded by a North American university. [...] The Doctor of Philosophy program is designed to prepare the student to become a scholar, that is, to discover, integrate, and apply knowledge, as well as to communicate and disseminate it.
Iberoamerican University: General Catalog of Graduate Studies. Mexico (1993). The doctorates are oriented towards the training of people capable of developing original research, managing research programs and providing specialized teaching at the highest level.
Republic of Colombia: Higher Education Law. Bogotá (February 8, 1994). The doctoral programs focus on the training of researchers at an advanced level based on the disposition, capacity and knowledge acquired by the individual in the previous levels of training. The doctorate must culminate with a thesis.

As for doctoral production, it is initially associated with the doctoral thesis or doctoral work and with research articles related to the phenomenon studied by the doctoral student, according to Vara (2010): the doctoral thesis is a work required to obtain the degree of doctor or PhD (Anglo-Saxon equivalent) characterized by the requirement of originality, degree of depth of the theoretical issues addressed, scientificity and the fact of being a written work that reveals legitimate scientific research (p.50).

It can be affirmed then, that the doctoral work must have a deep reflection of the problematic or subject of interest, besides such introspection (oriented to generate knowledge of social utility) is built on the basis of a methodological process that demonstrates scientific rigor. It is about thinking about the phenomenon from the point of view of philosophy, teleology, axiology and research paradigms.

It is worth noting that the research process at the doctoral level begins with an idea and ends in the generation of new ideas. It is associated with the confrontation with the real, with the facts; since facts or phenomena alone do not say anything. Science does not remain in the facts, these alone and isolated have no scientific significance. Then, the generation of knowledge from this perspective is deep and rigorous, it has to do with verification through a methodology defined by the researcher, which is understood as a complex, recursive process, which starts from the existing theory, descends to the empirical reality and produces new theory.

This doctoral production has specific features, among them stand out:

  • “They are unpublished and creative whose purpose is to generate a significant contribution to knowledge” (Mogollón, 2015, p. 141).
  • Doctoral production must demonstrate the creativity of the researcher, given that, the final work leaves in evidence the ability of the doctoral student to appropriate the elements of science, contributing in turn to its progress; a situation that is achieved through the application of scientific methodologies to seek explanations and find solutions to the situations or problems studied.
  • They have an epistemological position on which the bases of the doctoral production are designed, since it is there where the doctoral student builds the scientific elements of his research work, and pertinently selects: philosophical currents, theories and paradigm; base elements for the construction of his cognitive contribution.
  • The final work of a doctorate must be the result of the researcher's work, achieving a clear argumentation on the theme or themes developed.
  • In the scientific writing of the doctoral work, improvisation and the manifestation of ideas without due argumentation or scientific evidence to support them should be avoided.

As can be observed, doctoral production must be original, creative, logical and at the same time rigorous, and must include at least some dimensions of knowledge, among them: philosophical, theoretical, paradigmatic and methodological. In addition to the above, to develop this type of work it is necessary that the doctoral candidate possesses certain skills: training in research, mastery of scientific knowledge of the area studied, writing skills, the use of research tools or software, among some other factors.

In the same sense, this doctoral production has an operational taxonomy from the position of López (2015), this author explains that research in the context of a doctorate can be developed from three levels: the hypothetical, the theoretical and the philosophical, see table number 2, where these points are deepened.
Table 2.
Operational taxonomy of doctoral research.



Field of research

Object of study

Doctoral 3

Philosophical, metadiscursive, its purpose is the generation of meaning.


Being and existence.


Truth and interpretation, its ontological support.

Doctoral 2

Theoretical. Its purpose is descriptive, explanatory, comprehensive and predictive.


The logical consistency of its principles, concepts and hypotheses. In addition to its philosophical support.


Feasibility, theoretical and philosophical support.

Doctoral 1

Hypothetical. Its purpose is conjectural


Relevance of the hypotheses, theoretical and philosophical support.

Al When observing Table 2, it is perceived that doctoral production must have minimum levels of demand in terms of the generation of a type of knowledge, which has to be unpublished and of a high academic level, i.e., an innovative contribution that provides solutions to existing situations or problems. That is why Alfonzo (2015) cited by Alfonzo and Villegas (2017) stated that:
The importance of doctoral research being conducted from a thought that employs as episteme the transcomplex integrative approach, since doctoral theses should be characterized by their originality, that is, they should propose aspects not addressed before by any other researcher, which guarantees transcomplexity in that it poses a look from multiple disciplines and actors, more comprehensive and deep (p.8-9).
Taking up the previous idea and given the complexity of the society we live in today, it is essential to direct the efforts of the researcher to know and manage the transcomplex integrative approach, since it will facilitate the approach of doctoral research at any level, through the incorporation of multimethods and the coupling of transdisciplinarity; Therefore, it will help to achieve at level 1 (the validation of hypotheses and the structuring of their philosophical and theoretical support), at level 2 (the generation of theories or the development of models, both built on theoretical and philosophical supports) and at level 3 (the study of being and existence or truth and its interpretation from an ontological stance).
Following the traced direction, we arrived at the second topic, transcomplex research and transmethods, in this regard it was elucidated that the theoretical and scientific approach of transcomplexity came to the rescue of doctoral production, and became with its transcomplex integrative approach an alternative to achieve the criteria associated with scientific quality in an unstable and changing scenario.
It is important to clarify that social models evolve and with them all their processes, research is no exception, therefore, the essence and actions linked to the researcher's task must transcend methodological rigidity and reductionism to generate scientific knowledge, considering both the principles of complexity and transdisciplinarity within the framework of a society that is also transcomplex.
Concerning the principles of complexity, Wilinski, Méndez and Martínez (2013) explain the following:

  • The dialogical principle that preserves duality in unity, adds the words complementarity and antagonism to the study of situations.
  • The recursivity principle, associated with self-referentiality and autopoiesis, that is, the property of reproduction and maintenance of a system.
  • The hologrammatic principle, which overcomes reductionism and shows phenomena as a whole related to its parts, presents a holistic alternative of study with the help of two or more disciplines.

These same authors expressed that the way of conceiving reality from complexity, is composed by a reasoning capable of dialoguing and finding midpoints with the real; which also accounts for the coupling of fractured thoughts; that is, it is about forging a thought that imagines and reaches knowledge from dissimilar dimensions, this has to do with the way of approaching studies: from its context, from the background or historical elements related to the subject in question and from the conception of a future that includes the possibility of changes in its essence.

In another direction, when reference is made to the transcomplex society, it is that voraginous social model integrated by physical and virtual elements; it implies the opening of new scenarios in the face of untimely changes in the daily processes of the subjects, which leave digital traces associated with social behavior and, therefore, represent an unlimited amount of information generated continuously in real time. According to Zaá (2020), in a context of transcomplex thinking, system and environment flow by coupling reciprocally. Real physical systems only remain viable if they import energy from their immediate environment and export entropy to it. Interrelationships between elements at one level give rise to new types of elements at another level, but each new state is only a transition. The more states the system has, the greater its "variety", its capacity to respond to perturbations, to survive and its complexity (p.2).
It can be asserted that the permanent alterations, the instability of the structures of this chaotic society and the need to respond to the existing problems in the short term, brought about the emergence of a new way for research called "transcomplex" from the position of Murillo (2020):

It is assumed as a new complementary investigative worldview that allows the production of complex knowledge. It is then, integration of knowledge, it favors the rapprochement between cultures, communication between scientific knowledge and philosophical reflection; it recognizes the existence of multiple levels of reality, uncertainty, the imaginary, it corresponds to affectivity and creativity; experience and artistic creation (p. 13).

Following this order of ideas, according to what is expressed by Zaá (2017), the essence of scientific research is transmethods a conception that represents an overflow of traditional paradigms, it implies permanently reflecting on the situation of sciences. This transcomplex integrative approach presented by its exponents in their speeches is defined as a transmethod: multivariate, creative and complementary, i.e., it can mix qualitative, quantitative and dialectical to generate knowledge. Schavino and Villegas (2010) add that this research idea assumes the existing methods, integrates them and evolves into a transmethodology, "where deep and permanent reflection is the articulating axis in a singular and at the same time-shared itinerary" (p.1).

It is worth noting that there is no single working methodology; the researcher is free to design a process adapted to the situation under study. However, it is imperative that the researcher has a thorough mastery of the research methods and procedures, as well as the data collection instruments, the tools or forms of analysis and the design of the integrative stage or the transtriangulation. The mastery of the aforementioned elements plus the information collected during the state of the art will allow the researcher to structure an assertive design to successfully complete his doctoral work with the required quality criteria.  

Once the points of interest associated with the SCHavino research and transmethods were clarified, we proceeded to investigate the level of progress of the use of transmethods in doctoral production, for which the doctoral works generated from transcomplexity for the period 2016-2020 were collected, it is worth noting that the criteria used for the selection of the same were associated with the implementation of transmethods in the doctoral scientific work, specialties and geographical areas were not considered.
During the search of the databases, only four doctoral works were found that met the selection criteria, all of them associated with a doctoral level 2 (theoretical), according to the operational taxonomy proposed by López (2015). They are described below in chronological order:

Doctoral work 1, it was carried out by Salazar (2016: xviii) and was oriented to "generate a conceptual structure of learning a foreign language from a transcomplex vision as a way to approach and understand other cultures", considering the relevance of a target language in the educational context as a communication tool.

The methodology was based on the complexity paradigm (one of the pillars of transcomplexity), which is associated with an indeterminate conception of reality, under the complex-dialogical approach, and accepts the construction of new possibilities of knowledge. It should be noted that the study of foreign language learning required the configurational logic, built on subjective reflection and objective knowledge. The techniques for the collection were: a questionnaire and an interview. Information was triangulated to obtain the best theoretical product from the complementarity of methods. This work ends with a theoretical construction (duly grounded philosophically, theoretically and paradigmatically), synthesized in the following paragraph written by its author:
Students possess a particular conception of linguistic competence and teachers raise the need for an experiential pedagogy based on multiple approaches and methods, an approach that is in correspondence with the transcomplex vision of educational complementarity (p.xviii).

Doctoral work 2, it was elaborated by Paucar (2018), its purpose was to build transcomplex knowledge, from complex educational social contexts mixing theories and scientific principles for quantum artificial didactic strategy. The methodology was initially designed in complex participatory action research from an interpretive-comprehensive qualitative perspective through experimentation and a systematized record of the observed elements. In this sense, we resorted to multi-methods, especially from inductive to deductive, and included an in-depth documentary work that was later analyzed together in the integration phase.

It is worth noting that in the research conducted, the construction of transcomplex knowledge was achieved through the design of experiments and application of the quantum artificial didactic strategy, the researcher created his own instruments for data collection, among them: the educational loop matrix card and the educational loop activity card in the complex interacted contexts, which guaranteed, the educational reorientation of self-learning and self-training with imaginary and creative rationality for the mitigation of problems and social demands with inclusive peace culture.

Doctoral work 3 result of Peña's research (2019), focused on building a theoretical corpus of community education from a transcomplex vision, including in her study the social phenomena that affect Venezuelan families. The researcher elaborated a philosophical and conceptual architecture from the viewpoint of Plato with his "Just City", Morin and complexity and; finally, Freire, Rodriguez and Bolivar with their conception of Community Education. The theoretical compendium included the sociocultural educational theories of Vigostky, Rogers' Humanist, Maslow's self-realization, Maturana and Varela's autopoiesis and Gonzalez' Transcomplexity.

The methodological approach was based on the Transcomplex Integrating Approach and its premises: multi-method, action-reflection, transdisciplinary dialogue and complementarity. The researcher's own design included two aspects; a qualitative one, where participant observation and semi-structured interview were applied from an ethnographic approach, six families from two social strata were included. And a quantitative approach (descriptive field approach) in which a survey was applied to determine the sociodemographic characteristics, additionally an instrument was designed to measure family functionality. And the third way of integration, where the data collected by both methods were analyzed by means of matrices that supported the process of theorization.

All this work led the researcher to generate a theoretical corpus called Social Biometamorphosis, whose structural components are: Biofamily, Bionova Social Bioeducation. Upon reflection, it was glimpsed that community education is a range of opportunities to raise awareness in the collective and address social phenomena from a transeducational vision, which allows the transformation of the individual for a healthy behavior in society.

Finally, Perdomo's doctoral work 4 (2019) had as its object the study of education for the transformation of societies. Since Education is a priority issue for the global agendas of the Nations and for Venezuela, especially when it is going through a severe crisis derived from the challenges of the current times, it is merited to address its complexity through the amalgamation and transcendence of the joint vision, from a transdisciplinary perspective.

This work was the result of a Transcomplex Research and encompassed hard sciences, soft sciences and sciences of the spirit, using a conjunction of nomothetic, idiographic and philosophical methods. In this sense, the transcomplex integrative approach (EIT) and, specifically, the Transcomplex Integrative Method (MITC) were assumed as epistemological axis, to assume the flexibility to understand this complex reality, the methodological procedure was structured in five steps:  (1) the multi-referential historical approach; (2) the nomothetic approach from the hard sciences with a Likert scale applied to 145 individuals, the result of which was a perfect -1 correlation, by means of Pearson's formula; (3) the idiographic approach from the soft sciences, through a virtual interview to a community of ideas with 14 informants, using grounded theory and giving methodological legitimacy with triangulation between methods; (4) a philosophical approach to 11 experts with dialectical hermeneutics; and (5) a multi-referential transtriangulation to methodologically legitimize the whole study.

In order to be more concrete, in the works studied it was possible to specify that (see Figures 1 and 2), three of them came from Venezuela and one from Peru, in that sense 75% of the sample of doctoral works reviewed on the subject of transcomplexity are of Venezuelan origin. Sixty-three percent of the subjects involved in the elaboration of these works are part of the Transcomplexity Researchers Network, therefore, it can be affirmed that this novel research process is being directly promoted by the people involved in its construction.  Seventy-five percent of this research was associated with doctoral programs in education and 25% with doctoral programs in social sciences. The doctoral works of Venezuelan origin were presented in universities of different states (the University of Carabobo, the Experimental University of the Central Plains Rómulo Gallegos and the Bicentennial University of Aragua), so that, transcomplexity is becoming progressively known throughout the National territory. The doctoral works developed from the transcomplexity demonstrated a high level of quality in terms of knowledge generation.

Figure 1. Information on doctoral works identified as 1 and 2

Figure 2. Information on doctoral works identified as 3 and 4

Individuals wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should know its meaning and the inherent implications of the training process. In addition, the competencies to be strengthened in order to achieve doctoral production (meeting scientific quality standards) and thus obtain the degree. 

Developing a doctoral work within the framework of a chaotic and uncertain society, based on communication and technology, requires innovative methods that go beyond the limitations of traditional forms of research. In this sense, transcomplexity is a viable and assertive way to approach phenomena from complexity, transdiciplinarity, creativity and the strengths of the researcher; a way of dialoguing about ideas from dissimilar disciplines, theoretical and philosophical positions; the construction of a research work guided by tranmethods and transepistemology.

Regarding the review of the doctoral works, it is argued that: first, all the researches were classified in level 2 of the operational taxonomy explained by López (2015), since they managed to generate a theory in relation to the topic addressed. Second, each theoretical construct forged demonstrated logical consistency between hypotheses and definitions. Third, they were considered original works by a jury, therefore, they were approved, granting the researchers the degree of doctor. Fourth, from trancomplexity, each doctoral candidate constructed his own different methodological procedure: creative, multi-methods with several alternatives to validate the reasonableness of the data collected and an integrative stage of contrastation for the final theoretical construction. Fifth, it was also observed that each work had a unique structure at the researcher's discretion, tracing the logical steps to achieve the objective of the work and the inclusion of onto-epistemological elements.

In synthesis, the researches elaborated from transcomplexity are of a high academic level, since in them the researchers demonstrated the capacity to design an unprecedented methodological structure and integrated the use of multimethods to reach a theoretical construction, approaching the variables of their researches from the viewpoint of dissimilar disciplines, philosophies, paradigms and theories, that is, a meeting of knowledge and the contribution to a specific scientific field was achieved.

Additionally, based on the conclusions presented, it is considered necessary to promote the elaboration of doctoral works of level 1 (ontological and epistemological) and level 2 (modelistic) from transcomplexity, which would contribute to the strengthening of doctoral production at all levels. At the same time, the information of this episteme is disseminated in doctoral programs other than those of social sciences and education.

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