What do you mean by the terms "research methods" and "research methodology"?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the field of research, the research “method” entails different interventions, strategies, and plans that will be put to use by the researcher to do his or her job. It is like an action plan full of short- and long-term goals. It is also a set of actions—an action plan.

Research methodology deals with a range of ways to make the most out of solving key research problems. It is a composite of philosophies, ideals, and foundations that drive the actions, the methods, that will be used.

Think of the method as the “instrument,” or “tool” that will be used to accomplish the goals of the research. Think of the methodology as the systematic way in which those tools will be employed. There is no use having a tool without having a process to use it most effectively. This is the same basic gist with method (the tool) and methodology (the process, the guiding force).

Think also of the method as a series of techniques, while the methodology is the strategy that determines the use of the techniques. The methods enable the methodology, and the methodology helps decide the best methods.

To clarify further, consider this: A questionnaire is a method of data collection; it is a tool. Qualitative research methodology is the systematic processes and ways to obtain data with a variety of qualitative research tools. Hence, a questionnaire is one of the tools, or methods, that is employed as part of a qualitative researcher's methodology.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The term "research methods" refers to the different ways that you can collect data (information) for your research project. Research methods generally fall into one of two categories. If you want quantitative data, which consists of numerical data, then you might use a survey or online poll as your research method. In contrast, if you want qualitative data, which offers more description, then choose an interview or focus group as your research method.

When it comes to research methodology, you need to go a little deeper. This is your opportunity to reflect on your research methods. If you used a survey, for example, think about the advantages and disadvantages of using this method. Similarly, think about why you collected quantitative data instead of qualitative data.

After completing your research, you should also evaluate the method you used; this is part of your research methodology. Think about whether your research method was easy to carry out. Did it give you the results you needed? Would you use this method again? These are all questions to consider in your methodology.

See the reference links for more information.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Research methodology is a term that basically means the science of how research is done scientifically.  It is a way to systematically and logically solve a problem, help us understand the process not just the product of research, and analyzes methods in addition to the information obtained by them.

Quantitative Research Methods (typically tests a hypothesis):

  • surveys
  • experiments
  • statistical analysis
  • analysis of previous research

Qualitative Research Methods (typically generates a hypothesis based on data collection):

  • case studies
  • questionnaires
  • personal accounts
  • unstructured interviews
  • participant observations