I saw many times that this two terms are used like synonyms. For example in wikipedia write that Agile is "a group of software development methods", but Extreme programming is "a software development methodology".

Maybe these terms have some differences in the shades of meanings?

2 Answers 2


I don't think there is a universally well defined difference, but usually "methodology" is used to mean something bigger, more complex and/or more detailed than "method".

In my experience, Agile folks don't like the term "methodology" much as it has been traditionally associated with complicated, top-down organized, fundamentally un-agile processes like CMMI or RUP. So in this manner, even calling XP a "methodology" may be sneered upon by some Agilists. At any rate, XP is one of the Agile approaches, be it a "method" or a "methodology" :-)

  • Thank you for your answer. In really, I am leaning more and more to your position. It's a pity, that there are still a lot of terms that are poorly defined =/ Aug 24, 2014 at 17:49

There is, of course, difference between method and methodology terms, since etymologically methodology is theory of methods.

Saying it simply and not being entirely accurate, a method is a way of doing things, and a methodology is a collection of methods. Dictionary definitions describe briefly these terms:

  • methodology: A set of methods, rules, or ideas that are important in a science or art. A a particular procedure or set of procedures.

  • method: A way of doing something. A careful or organized plan that controls the way something is done.

The most common definitions suggest that methodology is the overall approach to research linked to the paradigm or theoretical framework while the method refers to systematic modes, procedures or tools used for collection and analysis of data. Mackenzie, N., & Knipe, S. (2006). Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology.Issues in educational research, 16(2), 193-205.

Nevertheless, misuse occurs between these two terms. Methodology has been increasingly used as a pretentious substitute for method in scientific and technical contexts http://www.thefreedictionary.com/methodology.

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