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I am not sure of the difference between "Methods" and "Methodology". In my dissertation, how should I name the chapter that describes the tools and methods I used to obtain my result?

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    I think your question is a duplicate of the question on English Language and Usage SE.
    – Nobody
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:52

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I use the following definition:

Methods are very simply, the things you did. The methods you used to achieve the result you're presenting. The could be new, or they could be existing methods.

A methodology is one level higher, a meta-method if you will. It is a method for creating a method. In other words a framework: a set of ideas and principles that can be applied to different contexts to create a specific method for that context.

So the line is a little blurry. If you're describing an experimental approach which is standard and unsurprising, you should definitely use methods. If the methods section is a part of the actual results you're presenting, you might use methodology, but only if you think it's sufficiently general.

As a policy, I would err on the side of caution and use methods if you're not sure. Using methodology when methods will do sounds pompous and unnecessarily complicates the text.

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  • I agree with Peter. The title "Methodology" is used frequently when authors are only describing their research "Method" and contrasting their methods with other researchers. If, instead, you are presenting arguments regarding the Philosophy of Science in your field, then by all means have a "Methodology" section. Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 14:53

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