Methodology and Method

RELATED TERMS: Ontology; Epistemology; Avant-garde movements; Critical Theory; Cultural Studies; Feminism - Material feminism; Multimodal research; Postmodernism; Poststructuralism; Psychogeography; Research methodologies; Theoretical practice; Historical materialism - Marxism; Critical thinking; Ethnomethodology; Affordances; Dissensus - Ranciere; Storyworld

In conducting research, a methodology guides the orientation of the research and frames the research question. Once these are decided, specific research methods are selected which generate the evidence (or the material outputs of practice in the case of practice-based research) to address the research question.

In practice, matters are far less clear-cut than this division suggests. Adherence to a methodology both enables research to proceed and limits research, by establishing boundaries of what it is permissible to say. It is this adherence which, if it become too rigid or mechanistic, gives some research its ‘artificial’ or ‘limited’ feel. All research, to some extent, has to deal with mismatches between methods and methodology and with the limits imposed by a methodology and its methods.

A methodology, in order to proceed, requires certain ontological assumptions about what already exists, how it exists and how new existents may be discovered, as well as certain epistemological assumptions about what is already known, how it is known and how new knowledge can be produced.


A method a way of proceeding or doing something, i.e. a procedure, especially one that is systematic or regular; orderliness of thought or action. As methods, it refers to the techniques or arrangement of work for a particular field or subject.


A methodology is a system of methods, principles and theories used in a particular discipline. It is akin to a philosophy or an approach which holds the methods and theories together as a coherent system.

More narrowly, the term methodology may refer to the branch of philosophy concerned with the science of method.