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What is methodology? How should it be defined?

In the context of discussion concerning scientific change, the terms method and methodology have been traditionally used as synonyms. The key definitional task here is to decide how methodology is to be defined. In particular, should it be used as a synonym for method, or is it something very different from method?

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Methodology (Barseghyan-2018) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term. It is defined as: "A normative discipline that formulates the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment."

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this term (it includes all the instances when the term was accepted as a part of a community's taxonomy):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy1 January 2016That is when the first definition of the term, Methodology (Barseghyan-2015) became accepted, which is a good indication that the question itself became accepted.Yes

All Theories

The following definitions of the term have been suggested:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Methodology (Barseghyan-2015)A set of explicitly formulated rules of theory assessment.2015
Methodology (Sebastien-2016)A normative theory that prescribes the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment.2016
Methodology (Barseghyan-2018)A normative discipline that formulates the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment.2018
If a definition of this term is missing, please click here to add it.

Accepted Theories

The following definitions of the term have been accepted:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyMethodology (Barseghyan-2015)1 January 201615 February 2017
ScientonomyMethodology (Sebastien-2016)15 February 20171 September 2019
ScientonomyMethodology (Barseghyan-2018)1 September 2019

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this term:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2016-0002Scientonomy3 September 2016Accept a new taxonomy for theory, normative theory, descriptive theory to reintroduce normative propositions (such as those of ethics or methodology) to the scientific mosaic.Not AcceptedSince this modification consisted of two interrelated but essentially distinct suggestions - one definitional and one ontological - it was decided by the community to divide it into two modifications so that the gist of the proposed suggestions is properly articulated. In particular, it was agreed that there are two modifications in "the heart of this single modification - one ontological, the other definitional".c1 It was also agreed that the current formulation "is exclusively definitional, and does not give the community an opportunity to appreciate (and, well, accept) the ontological changes that come along with it".c2 Consequently, it was decided to divide this modification into two modifications - one definitional and one ontological.c323 January 2017
Sciento-2017-0001Scientonomy23 January 2017Accept new definitions for theory, normative theory, and descriptive theory. Also, modify the definition of methodology to reflect these changes.AcceptedThe community agreed that this is "an important addition to theoretical scientonomy".c1 It was agreed that since "the paradox of normative propositions has been solved, a revised set of definitions was needed".c2 It was emphasized that if we're going to have any sort of conversation on the status of normative propositions in the mosaic, "then we need to start from a definition".c315 February 2017
Sciento-2018-0005Scientonomy8 October 2018Accept the new definitions of method as a set of criteria for theory evaluation and methodology as a normative discipline that formulates the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment.AcceptedThe consensus concerning this modification emerged primarily off-line, following a series of discussions. It was noted that the new definition "does clarify the scientific understanding of methods as normative theories that can be both accepted and employed".c1 It was also highlighted that the consensus on this modification "has been manifested on several occasions, including the first scientonomy conference in May 2019 in Toronto, where several of the speakers treated the suggested definition of method as accepted".c2 Importantly, it was also agreed that the acceptance of "this definition will require a whole series of changes to other theories already accepted by the scientonomic community to accord with the new definitions, for example, the Methodology can shape Method theorem."c3 This raises an important workflow-related question: does this mean that the encyclopedia editors have the right to make the respective changes?c41 September 2019

Current Definition

In Scientonomy, the accepted definition of the term is Methodology (Barseghyan-2018).

Methodology (Barseghyan-2018) states: "A normative discipline that formulates the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment."

Methodology (Barseghyan-2018).png

This definition of the term confines it to the respective normative field of inquiry. Specific methodological theories are referred to as methods.



There is currently no accepted view concerning the existence of methodologys.


In Scientonomy, no classes are currently accepted as disjoint with Methodology.


No classes are currently accepted as subtypes of a methodology.


No classes are currently accepted as supertypes of a methodology.


No associations of a methodology are currently accepted.

If a question concerning the ontology of a methodology is missing, please add it here.


If a question concerning the dynamics of a methodology is missing, please add it here.

Related Topics

This term is also related to the following topic(s):