[Air-L] methods and methodologist

Jean Burgess je.burgess at qut.edu.au
Tue Feb 9 04:12:15 PST 2010

Barry and all,

I agree that using "methodology" as nothing more than a fancy word for
"methods" should result in a demerit point. As to the rest, well.

I presume "pomo" is intended as a pejorative term. But it's not pomo to
separate methodology from method, and to discuss both.

For a start, it is tempting in our areas of study to allow "methodology" and
"methods" to stand in for "techniques". This is increasingly a problem in
computer-assisted research - where the research tools and techniques used
could be allowed to take on the aura of methodology in themselves, and the
conceptual choices underlying the techniques might therefore be taken for
granted. The lack of a distinction between methodology and methods is also
an important issue in the field (if you can call it that) of Internet
research, where in order to meaningfully translate our work across
disciplinary boundaries it is necessary to account for the assumptions
underlying the particular methods most associated with those disciplines.

One of my mentors used to say that all scholars should be required to think
about and explicitly reflect on the "ology" (knowledge and study) of their
methods (approaches; and then tools, techniques, and protocols) before they
go about choosing and applying them. It's hard to argue with that.


Research fellow
ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Queensland University of Technology

On 9/02/10 11:38 AM, "Barry Wellman" <wellman at chass.utoronto.ca> wrote:

> My heuristic, if you're over 50 and not post-modern & feel secure, you say
> Methods.
> Otherwise, you say Methodology.
> Folks who say Methodology when they mean Methods lose 1 style point when I
> referee. (OMG, I've outed myself!)
>  Barry Wellman
>  _______________________________________________________________________
>   S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC               NetLab Director
>   Department of Sociology                  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388
>   University of Toronto   Toronto Canada M5S 2J4   twitter:barrywellman
>   http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman             fax:+1-416-978-3963
>   Updating history:      http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php
>  _______________________________________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> The Air-L at listserv.aoir.org mailing list
> is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org
> Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at:
> http://listserv.aoir.org/listinfo.cgi/air-l-aoir.org
> Join the Association of Internet Researchers:
> http://www.aoir.org/

More information about the Air-L mailing list