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Procedure vs. Methodology: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 2, 2023
Procedure is a specific set of actions or steps taken to accomplish a task, while Methodology is the system of methods used in a particular study or activity.

Key Differences

Procedure refers to a specific sequence of actions or steps taken to complete a particular task or solve a specific problem. It is often detailed and direct, providing clear instructions on what needs to be done. Methodology, on the other hand, is more comprehensive and outlines the system of methods or principles behind a particular study, research, or activity.
In the realm of research, for instance, a Procedure might outline the exact steps a researcher takes to conduct an experiment, such as the order in which data is collected, or how samples are prepared. Methodology, however, would provide a broader view, explaining why certain methods were chosen, the theoretical framework guiding the research, and how the chosen methods address the research objectives.
In everyday tasks, a Procedure could be as simple as a recipe, instructing step by step on how to make a dish. Methodology in a cooking context might refer to the overarching philosophy or approach one takes to cooking, such as prioritizing organic ingredients or adhering to traditional culinary techniques.
When thinking about these terms in relation to one another, it's useful to view Procedure as the "how-to" and Methodology as the "why and how" combined. Both play crucial roles in ensuring clarity and purpose, whether in academic research, business processes, or everyday activities.

Comparison Chart


A set of specific steps to complete a task.
A system of methods used in a particular activity.


Narrow, focused on exact actions.
Broad, encompassing the rationale and methods.


To give clear, direct instructions.
To provide a framework or overall approach.


Often found in manuals, recipes, and technical tasks.
Common in academic, research, and theoretical contexts.


Usually rigid and to be followed as described.
Can be adapted or modified based on the context.

Procedure and Methodology Definitions


A formal or official way of doing something.
The company's hiring Procedure is thorough and rigorous.


A framework used to structure, plan, and control processes.
The Methodology was crucial for the project's success.


A sequence of actions conducted in a certain order.
Following the emergency evacuation Procedure ensured everyone's safety.


The theoretical analysis of research methods.
In his thesis, he discussed the Methodology of ethnographic studies.


A medical treatment or intervention.
She underwent a surgical Procedure to repair her knee.


The system of methods used in a study or activity.
Her research Methodology was both innovative and rigorous.


A method of performing a task.
The laboratory Procedure requires precision and attention to detail.


A particular procedure or set of procedures.
The Methodology employed ensured the data's accuracy.


An established way of doing something.
The Procedure for filing a complaint is outlined in the handbook.


A body of practices, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline or engage in an inquiry; a set of working methods
The methodology of genetic studies.
A poll marred by faulty methodology.


A manner of proceeding; a way of performing or effecting something
Standard procedure.


The study or theoretical analysis of such working methods.


A series of steps taken to accomplish an end
A medical procedure.
Evacuation procedures.


The branch of logic that deals with the general principles of the formation of knowledge.


(Computers) A set of instructions that performs a specific task; a subroutine or function.


The study of methods used in a field.
Research methodology


A set of established forms or methods for conducting the affairs of an organized body such as a business, club, or government.


(loosely) A collection of methods, practices, procedures and rules used by those who work in some field.
Agile methodology


(Law) The set of rules under which litigation is conducted, especially in contrast to the set of substantive legal principles that determine the merits of legal controversies and disputes.


The implementation of such methods etc.


A particular method for performing a task.


The science of method or arrangement; a treatise on method.


A series of small tasks or steps taken to accomplish an end.


The branch of philosophy that analyzes the principles and procedures of inquiry in a particular discipline


(uncountable) The set of established forms or methods of an organized body for accomplishing a certain task or tasks.
Ensure that you follow procedure when accessing customers' personal information.


The system of methods followed in a particular discipline


The steps taken in an action or other legal proceeding.


An organized, documented system used to achieve results.
The project's Methodology was outlined in the initial proposal.


(obsolete) That which results; issue; product.


(computing) A subroutine or function coded to perform a specific task, but does not return a value.


(medicine) A surgical operation.


The act or manner of proceeding or moving forward; progress; process; operation; conduct.


A step taken; an act performed; a proceeding; the steps taken in an action or other legal proceeding.


That which results; issue; product.


A particular course of action intended to achieve a result;
The procedure of obtaining a driver's license
It was a process of trial and error


A process or series of acts especially of a practical or mechanical nature involved in a particular form of work;
The operations in building a house
Certain machine tool operations


A set sequence of steps, part of larger computer program


A mode of conducting legal and parliamentary proceedings


Is a Procedure always rigid?

While Procedures typically provide specific steps, some may allow for flexibility based on the situation.

Can Methodology be considered a type of Procedure?

Methodology can encompass various Procedures, but it also includes the rationale behind choosing those Procedures.

Is a Methodology always strictly followed?

While Methodologies provide guidance, they can be adapted based on specific research needs or contexts.

Is Methodology limited to academic research?

No, Methodology refers to the system of methods used in any activity, not just academic research.

Why is Methodology important in research?

Methodology provides a clear framework, ensuring the research is reliable and valid.

Is every task guided by a Procedure?

Not necessarily. Some tasks may be routine or simple enough that they don't require a documented Procedure.

Can one project have multiple Methodologies?

Yes, different aspects of a project might require different Methodologies or approaches.

How is a Procedure typically documented?

Procedures are often outlined in manuals, guidelines, or checklists.

What might be an example of a Procedure in a school setting?

An example might be the Procedure for fire drills, detailing the steps students and staff should take.

Are Procedures only used in technical fields?

No, Procedures can be found in many areas, from cooking recipes to administrative tasks.

Can a Procedure change over time?

Yes, Procedures can be updated or modified based on new information or efficiency needs.

How does Methodology differ from method?

While they're related, a method is a specific way of doing something, while Methodology is the system or study of methods.

Is a Procedure always written?

While many Procedures are documented, some might be informally passed on or understood by practitioners.

Can there be multiple Procedures within a single Methodology?

Absolutely, a Methodology might encompass a variety of Procedures to address different aspects.

How do researchers decide on a Methodology?

Researchers consider their research goals, the nature of the data, and theoretical frameworks when choosing a Methodology.

Can Methodologies evolve?

Yes, Methodologies can evolve based on new knowledge, technologies, or approaches in a field.

Why is Methodology important in business?

Methodology provides a structured approach, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.

Can Procedures be complex?

Yes, some Procedures can be intricate, especially in technical or specialized fields.

Is the choice of Methodology always objective?

While it's based on research needs, there can be subjectivity in choosing a Methodology based on the researcher's perspective.

Do all companies have standard Procedures?

Many companies have standard Procedures for consistency, but specifics vary by company and task.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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