The term methodology refers to the way in which we approach problems and seek answers. Jankowicz (1995) says that a methodology is analysis of, and rational for, the particular method or methods used in a given study, and in that type of study in general.
Research methodology refers to the research process, the procedural framework within which the research is conducted. This methodology is defined by Leedy (1989, cited by Remenyi et al, 1998, p. 28) as 'an operational framework within which the facts are placed so that their meaning may be seen more clearly'.
Some methods provide data, which are quantitative and some that are qualitative. Quantitative methods are those, which focus on numbers and frequencies rather than on meaning and experience. Quantitative methods (e.g. experiments, questionnaires and psychometric tests) provide information, which is easy to analyse statistically and fairly reliable. Quantitative methods are associated with the scientific and experimental approach and are criticised for not providing an in depth description.
Qualitative methods are ways of collecting data, which are concerned with describing meaning, rather than with drawing statistical inferences. What qualitative methods (e.g. case studies and interviews) lose on reliability they gain in terms of validity. They provide a more in depth and rich description.
Fig 5, Source: Jankowicz (1995)
Figure 5 shows the comparison features of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Both qualitative and quantitative are said to be systematic. Qualitative research is thought to be objective whereas quantitative research often involves a subjective element. It is thought that in gaining, analyzing and interpreting quantitative data, the researcher can remain detached and objective. Often this is not possible with qualitative research where the researcher may actually be involved in the situation of the research. Jankowicz (1995)
The methodology that will be used...