Stop Using The Word Methodology

I do wish people would stop using the word methodology and start using the word method.

Methodology "can properly refer to the theoretical analysis of the methods appropriate to a field of study or to the body of methods and principles particular to a branch of knowledge," according to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

Method is "a means or manner of procedure, especially a regular and systematic way of accomplishing something."

In short, most people use methodology to mean nothing more sophisticated than "the way we do things" but sticking the 'ology on the end makes it sound more impressive! -- PhilStubbington

I do it because "method" means something specific in OOP. I am just trying to reduce confusion, not sound "impressive".

The new meaning of "methodology" is sufficiently widespread that it must be accepted. The new word for the study of methods, now the "study of methodologies", is Methodologyology. Or M14Y for short.

I disagree. In IT "method" has too many meanings. That's why "process" may be the better word.

[Process is also overloaded. Even within the realm of computer science it can be an abstract sequence of actions; one of several types of kernel data structure; an object modelling (whoops!) any of the above, or a development methodology (whoops again!). ShouldComputerScienceUseLatin?] OK, let's be more specific: "development process" or "software development process" ... however, when referring to a specific one, "the Foo Process" is an appropriate short name for "the Foo Development Process"


Joke from the '80s: A methodology is a method that has been to college.


I sometimes use the word methodology to refer to a coherent set of methods for doing things. Whenever I hear the word method, I'm always thinking, "method for doing what?" You don't really talk about methodologies the same way. It doesn't make as much sense to ask "methodology for doing what?" (Some sense, granted, but not as much.) So when I talk about Scrum, I say 'the Scrum methodology'. If I were to say 'the Scrum method', it doesn't work right in my head because I want to continue 'the Scrum method ... for doing what?' For example, the Scrum method ... for getting daily feedback from the team (DailyScrum), or the Scrum method ... for keeping changes manageable (ScrumSprint), etc. If I want to talk about the thing that is described in the ScrumBook, I say ScrumMethodology, even though I agree that methodology is kind of a silly word.

A better phrase (and the one used by the creators of Scrum) is ScrumProcess, especially since Scrum has been formalized into a product, which is usually called the ScrumMethodology. So ScrumProcess is the thing in the book, ScrumMethodology is the expensive, licensed, formalized version of Scrum that maquerades as a heavyweight process. -- MichaelIvey

I also dislike the word 'Methodology'. However, I use it because it *is* the correct word in our culture. Methodology as I use it is not equivalent to 'method' or 'process'. It is an unfortunate historical accident that we did not get a different, less irritating word. However, this is a battle that was fought and won (by the word 'Methodology') some time ago. It is pointless to fight it now. That would just cause even more confusion. The problem with other substitute words is that they don't properly capture the meaning of this very large 'thing' called a Methodology. As my company practices it, it involves a large body of naming conventions, protocols, 'rules of thumb', guidelines, etc. It is much too large a beast to simply call 'a protocol', 'method', 'discipline', 'regime' or anything else of which I am aware that would stick. I expect that a lot of the people using Methodology feel similarly conflicted. However, we are stuck with it now, unless we want to invent a new word, mount a huge campaign to sell it and then refactor the world's documentation to excise the word 'Methodology'. Maybe, to avoid this in the future, we should develop a better method(ology) for naming things. -- BobTrower

I think the misuse of "methodology" has its origin in medicine. For years, doctors like to use long Latin and Greek words to sound sophisticated. So they would say "methodology" rather than "method," and "symptomatology" when they really mean "symptom." (And there is really no such a word as symptomatology). As a physician, I strongly dislike the use of these superfluous words that add nothing but confusion. Recently I even heard someone on the radio saying "beautifulness." Enough is enough. Let's speak English as it should be. -- James Ong, MD
Stop utilizing methodologies and start using methods. --AalbertTorsius

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