Tuesday, 15 October, 2002

Method versus Methodology

Perhaps the lexicographers can shed some light on this one.  When discussing ways to create software, the most common term used in the literature to describe one way is "methodology."  I've long held that the proper term is "method," but now I'm not so sure.  My American Heritage dictionary provides a little guidance, the relevant definitions being:

method:  A means or manner of procedure; especially, a regular and systematic way of accomplishing anything.

methodology:  The system of principles, practices, and procedures applied to any specific branch of knowledge

Given those two definitions, I'm inclined to believe that I've been wrong all these years, as methodology seems to include method.  That is, whereas method is "a means or manner of procedure," methodology includes "principles, practices, and procedure."  [emphasis mine]  Anybody?