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Research Methods vs. Research Methodology: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 6, 2023
Research Methods are the tools or techniques used; Research Methodology is the rationale and the philosophical framework behind those methods.

Key Differences

Research Methods refer to the specific tools, techniques, and processes employed by researchers to gather and analyze data. In contrast, Research Methodology encompasses the theoretical framework and the systematic approach that underpin the entire research process.
The distinction between Research Methods and Research Methodology is akin to the difference between tools and the philosophy guiding their use.
Research Methods are concerned with how data is collected, be it through surveys, experiments, or observations, Research Methodology delves deeper, addressing why a particular method is chosen and its suitability in the context of a specific study.
Another way to perceive the difference is by considering Research Methods as the practical aspects of research, detailing 'how' research is done. In contrast, Research Methodology examines the logic behind the methods used, discussing 'why' they are employed and their relevance in achieving the research objectives.

Comparison Chart


Tools and techniques for data collection
Framework and philosophy guiding the research process


Practical aspects
Theoretical aspects


How data is collected
Why a particular method is chosen


Surveys, experiments, interviews
Positivism, interpretivism



Research Methods and Research Methodology Definitions

Research Methods

Techniques used for data collection.
She employed qualitative Research Methods like interviews and focus groups.

Research Methodology

Theory underpinning research practices.
His Research Methodology emphasized interpretive paradigms.

Research Methods

Specific ways to gather data.
His favorite Research Methods include field observations.

Research Methodology

Philosophical framework guiding research.
His thesis provided a detailed overview of the Research Methodology.

Research Methods

Means of obtaining research data.
Experimental and observational are two primary Research Methods.

Research Methodology

Systematic approach to research design.
She's known for her unique Research Methodology.

Research Methods

Tools in a researcher's toolkit.
Among the Research Methods used was a comprehensive survey.

Research Methodology

Rationale for research approach.
The paper's Research Methodology section was quite insightful.

Research Methods

Procedures for empirical investigation.
The team used multiple Research Methods to ensure data accuracy.

Research Methodology

The reasoning behind method selection.
The Research Methodology justified the use of qualitative techniques.


Which comes first: Research Methodology or Research Methods?

Research Methodology typically comes first, guiding the choice of Research Methods.

Are surveys and interviews considered Research Methods?

Yes, both surveys and interviews are examples of Research Methods.

Why is it important to distinguish between Research Methods and Research Methodology?

Distinguishing helps ensure the study's approach is systematic, and the methods used align with the study's objectives.

Is Research Methodology specific to academic research?

While common in academia, Research Methodology principles also apply to professional and industry research.

Can the same data be collected using different Research Methods?

Yes, different Research Methods can sometimes gather similar data, but the nature and depth might vary.

What role does Research Methodology play in a study's credibility?

A well-defined Research Methodology ensures the study's approach is systematic, justifiable, and suitable for the research questions.

Can a research project have multiple Research Methods?

Yes, a study can employ multiple Research Methods for comprehensive data collection.

Is Research Methodology related to research paradigms?

Yes, paradigms like positivism or interpretivism are part of the Research Methodology, guiding the research approach.

Is choosing the right Research Methods crucial for a study's success?

Yes, appropriate Research Methods ensure relevant data collection, impacting the study's validity.

Are Research Methods and Research Methodology the same?

No, Research Methods are techniques for data collection while Research Methodology is the framework guiding the research.

Is Research Methodology always needed in a study?

While not always explicitly stated, a sound Research Methodology underpins effective research design.

Can a Research Methodology evolve during a study?

While core principles usually remain, some aspects of the Research Methodology can be refined as the study progresses.

Can a Research Methodology be mixed, like using both qualitative and quantitative approaches?

Absolutely, mixed-methods research combines elements of both, guided by a comprehensive Research Methodology.

Are field observations a Research Method?

Yes, field observations are a qualitative Research Method.

How do researchers ensure their Research Methods align with their Research Methodology?

Through systematic planning, understanding the research aims, and ensuring methods are suitable for answering the research questions.

Can the choice of Research Methods impact research outcomes?

Absolutely, the selection of Research Methods directly influences the type and quality of data obtained.

How do researchers decide on appropriate Research Methods?

The choice is based on the research questions, objectives, and the framework set by the Research Methodology.

Do all researchers agree on one Research Methodology?

No, Research Methodology can vary based on discipline, research aims, or personal researcher philosophy.

Are experiments a type of Research Method?

Yes, experiments are a primary Research Method in many scientific studies.

Do Research Methods need justification in a study?

Yes, justifying the chosen Research Methods often stems from the study's Research Methodology.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited 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.

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