Methodology

Methodology is "'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".[1][2]

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[3] that stretch across competing understandings of how knowledge and reality are best understood. This situates methodologies within overarching philosophies and approaches.[4]

Methodology may be visualized as a spectrum from a predominantly quantitative approach towards a predominantly qualitative approach.[5] 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.[6][7][8]

Overall, a methodology does not set out to provide solutions - it is therefore, not the same as a method.[8][9] 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.