Methodology is the study of research methods,[1][2] or, more formally, “'a contextual framework for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choices researchers [or other users] make”.[3][4]

It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles associated with a branch of knowledge such that the methodologies employed from differing disciplines vary depending on their historical development. This creates a continuum of methodologies[5] that stretch across competing understandings of how knowledge and reality are best understood. This situates methodologies within overarching philosophies and approaches.[6]

Methodology may be visualized as a spectrum from a predominantly quantitative approach towards a predominantly qualitative approach.[7] Although a methodology may conventionally sit specifically within one of these approaches, researchers may blend approaches in answering their research objectives and so have methodologies that are multimethod and/or interdisciplinary.[8][9][10]

In general, a methodology proposes to provide solutions - therefore, the same as a method.[10][11] Instead, a methodology offers a theoretical perspective for understanding which method, set of methods, or best practices can be applied to the research question(s) at hand.

Table of Contents


  1. Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, W. A. Neilson, T. A. Knott, P. W. Carhart (eds.), G. & C. Merriam Company, Springfield, MA, 1950. “Methodology Usage Notes”, entry at Merriam–Webster
  2. Baskerville, R. (1991). “Risk Analysis as a Source of Professional Knowledge”. Computers & Security. 10 (8): 749–764. doi:10.1016/0167-4048(91)90094-T.
  3. Kara, Helen (2015). Creative research methods in the social sciences: a practical guide. Gergen, Kenneth J., Gergen, Mary M. Bristol: Policy Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-4473-1627-5. OCLC 908273802.
  4. Creative arts research: narratives of methodologies and practices. Grierson, Elizabeth; Brearley, Laura; Hamm, Treahna. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers. 2009. ISBN 978-90-8790-995-6. OCLC 551433734.
  5. Cooper, Barry (8 March 2012). Challenging the qualitative-quantitative divide: explorations in case-focused causal analysis. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4411-0063-4. OCLC 793207861.
  6. Niglas, Katrin (2010), “The Multidimensional Model of Research Methodology: An Integrated Set of Continua”, SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research, SAGE Publications, Inc., pp. 215–236, doi:10.4135/9781506335193.n9, ISBN 978-1-4129-7266-6, retrieved 2020-10-28
  7. Newman, Isadore. (1998). Qualitative-quantitative research methodology: exploring the interactive continuum. Benz, Carolyn R. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-585-17889-5. OCLC 44962443.
  8. Irny, S.I. and Rose, A.A. (2005) “Designing a Strategic Information Systems Planning Methodology for Malaysian Institutes of Higher Learning (isp- ipta), Issues in Information System, Volume VI, No. 1, 2005.
  9. Andiappan, Viknesh; Wan, Yoke Kin (2020-04-01). “Distinguishing approach, methodology, method, procedure and technique in process systems engineering”. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. 22 (3): 547–555. doi:10.1007/s10098-020-01819-w. ISSN 1618-9558. S2CID 211074515.
  10. Brookshier, Kathryn (2018-05-30). “Method vs. methodology: understanding the difference”. Medium. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  11. Campbell, Steve (2016). “Perspectives: Method and methodology in nursing research”. Journal of Research in Nursing. 21 (8): 656–659. doi:10.1177/1744987116679583. ISSN 1744-9871. S2CID 78696476.
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