Research Writing

Difference between method and methodology/Concepts and Applications


How to differentiate  research methods and  methodology? In this article you will find the main differences between these two concepts. A method is simply the tool used to answer your survey questions— basically, how you will collect your  data. Research methods, for example, are the scientific techniques or tools that will be used to carry out the  work, regardless of whether the research belongs to the physical, natural, social sciences  or any other discipline. Examples of research methods include: observations, theoretical procedures, experimental studies, contextual research, interview, usability study, etc. A methodology is the overarching strategy and logic of your research project, the approach through which your  analysis takes place. The methodology, should influence the choice of which research method(s) will be selected in order to generate convincing data. It can be a qualitative, quantitative, descriptive or analytical research methodology.

Research Methods and Methodology

Survey methods are intended to help us collect samples and data. and finding a solution to a specific or ad hoc problem. In particular, scientific research methods require explanations based on collected facts, measurements and observations and not just reasoning. They accept only explanations that can be verified by experiments, research, questionnaires, interviews, case studies,  participant and non-participant observation. The research methodology, on the other hand, aims to systematically solve a problem. It is a science that stipulates how research should be carried out. Essentially, the procedures by which researchers do their job of describing, explaining, and predicting phenomena are called research methodology. Difference between method and methodology

In a scientific article, the methods must contain procedures for data collection and analysis, with information relevant to the materials, participants used and defined protocols. A well-structured research methodology includes the work plan of your research article and contains: research logic (qualitative or quantitative, inductive or deductive research), research environment and participants (social, economic, political, cultural, historical or physical) and ethical problems or conflicts.

The  natural sciences  ((astronomy, biology, chemistry, geoscience and physics), for example, elaborate their study through the  scientific method. This is a quantitative approach influenced by the philosophy of empiricism, which postulates that knowledge can only be obtained through direct and verifiable observations. The scientific method offers a defined set of best practices for observing the world through established methods such as characterizations, hypotheses, predictions, and experimentation. A key distinguishing feature of this methodology is that it purports not to prove knowledge, or “right” facts, but mainly purports to prove something “wrong” or false.

How to Write an Effective Methods Section

To write an effective methods section, authors can use specific subheads to describe their research .

  • Literature search: authors should cite all sources that helped in choosing the methods as well as indicate the dates of previous studies and their particular parameters.
  • Study participants: Authors should cite the source from which they received any non-human materials. The number of animals used, age, sex , their initial conditions and how they were housed and cared for should be listed. In the case of human beings, authors should provide characteristics such as geographic location, age group,  gender, medical history (if relevant) and the number of participants. In case hospital records were used, authors should include basic health and subject information at baseline. Authors must also declare that written informed consent has been provided by each subject. Difference between method and methodology
  • Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria: Authors must describe their inclusion and exclusion criteria within the study, how they were determined and how many were excluded.
  • Group characteristics (may be combined with “Study participants”): Authors should describe how the chosen group was divided into subgroups and its characteristics, including the control. Authors should also describe any specific conditions used, such as housing and feed requirements (usually for animal studies). In the case of a human sample, if patient records are reviewed and evaluated, authors should mention whether the reviewers were unaware of these patients in order to eliminate preconceived ideas.
  • Procedures: authors must describe the design of their study. Any necessary preparations (eg tissue samples, treatments) and instruments should be described. Authors should describe how the subjects were “manipulated to answer the experimental question”, including the methods used previously approved by regulatory agencies. In addition, timelines used in experiment development should be included to ensure procedures are clear (eg, “Rats received drugs for 14 days”). Difference between method and methodology
  • Statistical analysis: the type of data, how they were measured and which statistical tests were performed must be described. Importantly, this is not the results section and any relevant tables and figures should be referenced later. The specific software used must also be cited.

In order to write a methodological section, it is necessary to answer some questions such as: what is the most adequate approach to answer your scientific questions? Is this a standard methodology in your area or does it require justification? Were there any ethical or philosophical considerations? What are the validity and reliability criteria in this project?

Differences Between Methods and Methodology

The 5 main differences between research methods and methodology are defined in the table below:

Difference between method and methodology

Methods Methodology
Its objective is to find a solution to specific and punctual research problems. Its purpose is to determine the suitability of the methods applied in order to determine the solution.


They are just tools used as a research technique. It comprises the analysis of all methods and procedures.
They are applied after selecting the methodology. It is applied during the initial phase of the research process.


Includes different investigation techniques It is a systematic strategy to find a solution to the research problem.
They include carrying out experiments, research, tests, etc. It covers various techniques used during experiments, research, tests, etc.

Difference between method and methodology

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