• More from M-W
  • To save this word, you'll need to log in. Log In


Definition of methodology

Did you know.

Methodology and Science

The methodology employed in an experiment is essential to its success, and bad methodology has spoiled thousands of research projects. So whenever a piece of research is published in a scientific or medical journal, the researchers always carefully describe their methodology; otherwise, other scientists couldn't possibly judge the quality of what they've done.

Examples of methodology in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'methodology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

New Latin methodologia , from Latin methodus + -logia -logy

1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Articles Related to methodology


Are You Misusing These 10 Common Words?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Dictionary Entries Near methodology


methods engineer

Cite this Entry

“Methodology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/methodology. Accessed 10 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on methodology

Nglish: Translation of methodology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of methodology for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about methodology

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Play Quordle: Guess all four words in a limited number of tries.  Each of your guesses must be a real 5-letter word.

Can you solve 4 words at once?

Word of the day.

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Popular in Grammar & Usage

More commonly misspelled words, your vs. you're: how to use them correctly, every letter is silent, sometimes: a-z list of examples, more commonly mispronounced words, how to use em dashes (—), en dashes (–) , and hyphens (-), popular in wordplay, the words of the week - may 10, 12 star wars words, a great big list of bread words, 10 scrabble words without any vowels, 8 uncommon words related to love, games & quizzes.

Play Blossom: Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

  • Professional development
  • Knowing the subject
  • Teaching Knowledge database D-H


Methodology is a system of practices and procedures that a teacher uses to teach.

A teacher standing outside

It will be based on beliefs about the nature of language, and how it is learnt (known as 'Approach').

Example Grammar Translation, the Audiolingual Method and the Direct Method are clear methodologies, with associated practices and procedures, and are each based on different interpretations of the nature of language and language learning.

In the classroom Many teachers base their lessons on a mixture of methods and approaches to meet the different needs of learners and the different aims of lessons or courses. Factors in deciding how to teach include the age and experience of learners, lesson and course objectives, expectations and resources.

Further links:




Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight

  • Daily Crossword
  • Word Puzzle
  • Word Finder
  • Word of the Day
  • Synonym of the Day
  • Word of the Year
  • Language stories
  • All featured
  • Gender and sexuality
  • All pop culture
  • Writing hub
  • Grammar essentials
  • Commonly confused
  • All writing tips
  • Pop culture
  • Writing tips



[ meth- uh - dol - uh -jee ]

  • a set or system of methods, principles, and rules for regulating a given discipline, as in the arts or sciences.
  • the underlying principles and rules of organization of a philosophical system or inquiry procedure.
  • the study of the principles underlying the organization of the various sciences and the conduct of scientific inquiry.
  • Education. a branch of pedagogics dealing with analysis and evaluation of subjects to be taught and of the methods of teaching them.

/ ˌmɛθəˈdɒlədʒɪ; ˌmɛθədəˈlɒdʒɪkəl /

  • the system of methods and principles used in a particular discipline
  • the branch of philosophy concerned with the science of method and procedure

Discover More

Derived forms.

  • ˌmethodoˈlogically , adverb
  • ˌmethodˈologist , noun
  • methodological , adjective

Other Words From

  • meth·od·o·log·i·cal [ meth-, uh, -dl-, oj, -i-k, uh, l ] , adjective
  • meth·od·ol·o·gist noun

Word History and Origins

Origin of methodology 1

Example Sentences

In the global race for a Covid vaccine, different researchers are trying a variety of methodologies and platforms.

The issue, he added, is that there isn’t a clear methodology or adjudication system for publishers or platforms to dispute Chrome’s decision making over what constitutes a “heavy” ad.

Firefox has been an aggressive champion of consumer privacy and not necessarily a friend to digital marketers, most of whom would have preferred to keep third-party cookies and existing tracking and targeting methodologies intact.

Before you dive in, it may help to read our summary of the state of the race, or at least skim our very detailed methodology guide.

We work with Google to find the most advanced and highest impact advertising strategies, as well as new advertising features, and we reveal some of our new methodologies which we normally do not share.

Geisbert was also quick to mention how the methodology of the study could be affecting the current results.

Germane and relevant in their way, but wielding a different methodology.

The UN methodology affords its team a little more flexibility.

“Food Chains” shows how the CIW is using a completely new methodology—contract law—to make a difference in the growing fields.

Alt cert critics often argue that there are flaws in the methodology of some of these studies.

The next two Partes contain a discussion of the methodology of note-taking and are not directly bibliographical in nature.

I bring together here different studies relating more or less directly to questions of scientific methodology.

Some expense for the development of computer systems and computer systems methods is justifiable as an investment in methodology.

The arguments used by these despisers of methodology are strong enough in all appearance.

The study of these processes of historical construction forms the second half of Methodology.

Related Words

Definition of 'methodology'

  • methodology

IPA Pronunciation Guide

methodology in American English

Methodology in british english, examples of 'methodology' in a sentence methodology, related word partners methodology, trends of methodology.

View usage over: Since Exist Last 10 years Last 50 years Last 100 years Last 300 years

In other languages methodology

  • American English : methodology / mɛθəˈdɒlədʒi /
  • Brazilian Portuguese : metodologia
  • Chinese : 方法论
  • European Spanish : metodología
  • French : méthodologie
  • German : Methodik
  • Italian : metodologia
  • Japanese : 方法論
  • Korean : 방법론
  • European Portuguese : metodologia
  • Spanish : metodología

Browse alphabetically methodology

  • methodological problem
  • methodological weakness
  • methodologies
  • methohexital
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'M'

Related terms of methodology

  • Q-methodology
  • R-methodology
  • flawed methodology
  • scientific methodology

Quick word challenge

Quiz Review

Score: 0 / 5


Wordle Helper


Scrabble Tools


Cambridge Dictionary

  • Cambridge Dictionary +Plus

Definition of methodology – Learner’s Dictionary

Your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio

(Definition of methodology from the Cambridge Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Translations of methodology

Get a quick, free translation!


Word of the Day

relating to or caused by an earthquake

Varied and diverse (Talking about differences, Part 1)

Varied and diverse (Talking about differences, Part 1)

methodology definition in english language

Learn more with +Plus

  • Recent and Recommended {{#preferredDictionaries}} {{name}} {{/preferredDictionaries}}
  • Definitions Clear explanations of natural written and spoken English English Learner’s Dictionary Essential British English Essential American English
  • Grammar and thesaurus Usage explanations of natural written and spoken English Grammar Thesaurus
  • Pronunciation British and American pronunciations with audio English Pronunciation
  • English–Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified)–English
  • English–Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional)–English
  • English–Dutch Dutch–English
  • English–French French–English
  • English–German German–English
  • English–Indonesian Indonesian–English
  • English–Italian Italian–English
  • English–Japanese Japanese–English
  • English–Norwegian Norwegian–English
  • English–Polish Polish–English
  • English–Portuguese Portuguese–English
  • English–Spanish Spanish–English
  • English–Swedish Swedish–English
  • Dictionary +Plus Word Lists
  • Learner’s Dictionary    Noun
  • Translations
  • All translations

To add methodology to a word list please sign up or log in.

Add methodology to one of your lists below, or create a new one.


Something went wrong.

There was a problem sending your report.

  • Dictionaries home
  • American English
  • Collocations
  • German-English
  • Grammar home
  • Practical English Usage
  • Learn & Practise Grammar (Beta)
  • Word Lists home
  • My Word Lists
  • Recent additions
  • Resources home
  • Text Checker

Definition of methodology noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary


Take your English to the next level

The Oxford Learner’s Thesaurus explains the difference between groups of similar words. Try it for free as part of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app

methodology definition in english language

Glossary of Abbreviations and English Exams | EFL Resource

Latest Blogs

Exploring House and Home | Activities for the EFL Classroom

What has just happened?

Sustainability And Recycling For Young Learners Of English

  • Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
  • Opens in a new window.

methodology definition in english language

Explore More

Stay in our orbit.

Stay connected with industry news, resources for English teachers and job seekers, ELT events, and more.

methodology definition in english language

Explore Topics

  • Global Elt News
  • Job Resources
  • Industry Insights
  • Teaching English Online
  • Classroom Games / Activities
  • Teaching English Abroad
  • Professional Development

methodology definition in english language

Popular Articles

  • 5 Popular ESL Teaching Methods Every Teacher Should Know
  • 10 Fun Ways to Use Realia in Your ESL Classroom
  • How to Teach ESL Vocabulary: Top Methods for Introducing New Words
  • Advice From an Expert: TEFL Interview Questions & How to Answer Them
  • What Is TESOL? What Is TEFL? Which Certificate Is Better – TEFL or TESOL?

methodology definition in english language

Debunking the Methodology Myth: Identifying Multiple Methods of ESL Instruction

  • Linda D'Argenio
  • July 27, 2023

methodology definition in english language

Choosing an effective foreign language teaching methodology is a concern common to many language teachers. In the case of teaching English as a second or foreign language, this concern is amplified by the unique place English occupies among world languages and the multifaceted profile of English language learners. Some teachers remain loyal to a specific teaching strategy throughout their careers, while others try different approaches, searching for that magic bullet that will deliver language proficiency for their students in the limited amount of available class hours.

With 40 years of ESL/EFL teacher training, Bridge has been in the front row of evolving English language learning methodologies , training teachers to identify the best instructional methods and practices, and highlighting ways to identify student learning styles and needs that often drive effective methodology choices. Foundational courses such as the 40-hour Basic TEFL/TESOL Certificate , 60-hour Introductory Educator TEFL/TESOL Certificate and 100-hour Introductory Educator Plus TEFL/TESOL Certificate provide the foundational skills needed to teach English language learners. Over time, Specialized Certifications were added to provide niche training. These included the Teaching English Online suite of courses, Teaching English to Young Learners and Teenagers courses and Teaching Business English .

What methodologies do work and how do I choose when to use them?

Each course includes training in current learning methodologies specific to the context of the course, but Bridge also developed certifications and training in some of the most relevant methodologies for English language learning, such as Specialized Certifications in Foundational CLIL Methodology and Advanced CLIL Methodology , to provide a deeper dive into relevant development and execution of effective methods of teaching and learning.

While some may claim to have “cracked the code” and found the method through which learners will most quickly or most effectively learn the English language, the complex reality of language learning indicates a need for multiple strategies of learning, whether that learning takes place in person or online. If there is no single “magic” method to learning English, that leaves teachers with the question, “What methodologies do work and how do I choose when to use them?” To answer this question, we need first to consider the peculiar position occupied by English among world languages and then look at the diverse characteristics of English language learners and how this diversity impacts the choice of methodology.

Interested in learning more about professional development to sharpen your teaching skills? Read Upskilling Opportunities for ELT Industry Grow With Global Shifts, Rise of Private Sector EFL Companies.

methodology definition in english language

Table of Contents

English as a world language

Today, English is possibly the most widely taught and spoken language in the world. It is the de jure or de facto official language in 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign territories . According to some estimates, English is spoken by two billion people worldwide , with native speakers making up about four-hundred million of them. After World War II, with the ascent of the United States as the main economic and political power, English became the lingua franca for business, diplomacy and travel. It occupies an equally central position in the sphere of academia and research. Therefore, knowledge of English is essential for many fields of study, from the humanities to science and everyday communication.

Bridge Languages , the corporate language training division of Bridge, continues to expand its language training partnerships, particularly in Latin America, where Business English training is in demand among many multinational companies. As businesses evolve with increasing technological developments, many industries have developed language programs to provide employees with English language training to meet global communication demands. In many cases, English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses are needed to provide industry-specific English language training, with instruction focused on English for fields such as medicine, aviation or engineering. Bridge Languages learning paths include ESP training for a variety of industries.

English’s large geographical distribution has produced many regional variants differing in lexicon and inflection, adding complexity to the language. While British and American English have historically been the most established and influential varieties, we now must also consider English’s diverse cultural implications. With an estimated two billion people speaking English worldwide, English has become a global language, with varied dialects and accents reflecting many cultures. In response to the evolving nature of the language, Bridge supports the global nature of English, providing teachers with tips for teaching English as a global language . It is important to also consider how this diversity impacts the choice of teaching methodologies.

Interested in learning how to teach English as a Global language? Learn more about Bridge’s Teaching English as a Global Language Micro-credential.

methodology definition in english language

Diverse profiles of English language learners

English language learners are a disparate student body, as diverse as the cultural and socio-economic context in which they live. To illustrate their complexity, let’s consider school-age English learners and how their national context can influence teachers’ choice of methodologies.

In some anglophone countries like the U.S. and the UK, English language learners make up a high percentage of the student population (respectively 10 and 20 percent). However, while most learners in the UK are foreign-born, in the U.S., only 23 percent of K-12 students with limited English proficiency were born in another country. In both countries, students’ performance in English appears to be linked more to their socioeconomic status than to their immigration status or ethnic background, with pupils from a low socioeconomic status underperforming across all school subjects. Thus, their challenges may not lay simply in having to master a second language, and the choice of methodologies should take into account other aspects like integration into the social structure and the need for additional in-school support.

In many other countries around the world, the study of English is mandatory for all school-age students . Stakes are high for many English language learners around the world. In China, studying English is compulsory , and it occupies an essential place in children’s education. It is understood that students need to master English to access good jobs. Many Chinese students also need English to pass exams like the GRE and the TOEFL and to study overseas. When teaching Chinese students, ESL/EFL instructors should consider the way these children learn . Establishing routines, leveraging Chinese students’ aptitude for memorization, setting clear goals and understanding a few essential differences between English and Chinese (the challenges students encounter in studying English) can help teachers choose an appropriate methodology.

In some countries like India, multilingualism is the norm, and children grow up speaking more than one language. This will likely give them an advantage in learning L2 over children living in monolingual countries. But, although English is considered a second language in India and its study is mandatory, its use is still primarily the purview of the elite, with only 10 percent of the population speaking it proficiently. Challenges students encounter in learning English are mostly related to how the language is taught and include an excessive emphasis on grammar instead of fluency, the tendency to translate from the L1 to the L2, which produces a language that sounds unnatural to the native English speaker, and not enough exposure to the target language (TL). In India, like in China, there is enormous pressure to learn English, a language seen as the way to better jobs and careers.

methodology definition in english language

In South America, Argentina leads the region in English proficiency . What makes English so popular in Argentina is the hope that it may open the way to better jobs and career pathways. In recent years, the teaching approach to English has started to emphasize a multicultural and multilingual perspective, placing English in a global context and encouraging students to grant equal importance to their language and culture.

Regardless of their country of residence, English language learning students share some common characteristics.

  • They live in countries where English is the official language or essential for work or study.
  • Students who relocate to English-speaking countries come from disparate cultural, linguistic and economic backgrounds and must face other challenges besides mastering English. Many English language students attend schools where English is the primary language of instruction. Lack of English fluency and inability to communicate effectively can cause students to be misjudged by their teachers as being underperforming even in subjects in which they are proficient.
  • They are aware of the high stakes involved in acquiring English proficiency. Fluency in English can enhance their career, open new career pathways or be essential to study and work at any level. This can generate anxiety in learners. The effect of anxiety on English language learners is a well-known phenomenon “which involves stages of communicative anxiety, fear of adverse assessment, test anxiety and anxiety of the English classroom.”
  • Learners have disparate needs and learning objectives that depend on their age, location, the reason for learning English (academic, daily communication, business, etc.) and language learning aptitude.

Given the complexity of the English language learner student profile, it is not reasonable to assume that a single methodology can be effective in all cases. The individual needs of students should drive the choice of teaching methodologies.

Certain aspects of those methodologies (e.g., grammar rules/structures in grammar/translation or repetition drills in audiolingual method) can still be used for students with certain learning styles or for specific proficiency levels.

Eric Peterson at Westcliff University in the U.S. said teachers should keep in mind students’ backgrounds, learning styles, interests and levels of proficiency when considering appropriate teaching methodologies, noting that in any case, instruction should be student-centered.

When asked whether there is still space for older methodologies, he said there are still certain aspects of some of the older methodologies that can play a part in the classroom.

“Certain aspects of those methodologies (e.g., grammar rules/structures in grammar/translation or repetition drills in audiolingual method) can still be used for students with certain learning styles or for specific proficiency levels,” Peterson said. “So, there is still space for these methodologies but they need to be implemented in a way that always promotes the student at the center of instruction.”

In addition, the method used to deliver instruction should be considered. In-person instruction differs from increasingly popular online instruction in several ways that also impact the choice of teaching strategies. With all this in mind, let’s look at the main approaches and methodologies available for ESL/EFL instruction.

If you live in a multicultural community, you are likely familiar with the phenomenon of code-switching. Learn about code-switching in EFL classrooms as well as when and how this practice may be used effectively.

Approaches and Methodologies for ESL/EFL Instruction

In English Language Teaching (ELT), the term “approach” refers to the philosophy or theoretical framework underlying language instruction. A methodology is the way that approach is implemented. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

In this review of approaches and methodologies, we will start with the older approaches and evaluate if and in what context these approaches are still valid today.

Download Bridge’s Guide to Popular ESL Learning Methodologies for an in-depth look at core instructional strategies and the contexts they best suit.

1. Grammar/Translation Approach

Also called the Classical Method because it was largely used for teaching ancient Greek and Latin, this approach views languages and language learning primarily as a set of rules (grammar) and words (lexicon) to be memorized and then applied. Due to its focus on classical languages, the GTA was not geared toward oral communication but rather reading and writing. The approach originated in the 18th century and relied heavily on memorization and the internalization of grammar and vocabulary through exposure to texts. In its more recent version, the GTA teaching procedure consists of an analysis and explanation of grammar rules in the student’s native language; vocabulary lists to be memorized by the learner together with the grammar rules; grammar drills; and translation exercises.

Although partially fallen from favor, the GTA and the methods derived from it are still used today, and the GTA is still implicit in the organization of many textbooks. While not ideal for beginners, the GTA is valuable for high-intermediate and advanced students in an academic context, such as when studying literature, philology or linguistics. Approaching literary texts with the Grammar/Translation Approach encourages readers to focus closely on the subtleties of the language. Students trained in this method understand grammar and syntactical structures and, above all, how grammar, syntax and the choice of vocabulary all contribute to expressing meaning. In addition, the Grammar/Translation approach encourages the learner’s analytical abilities much more than other methods/approaches. In this respect, the method has value beyond mere language teaching.

Learn about some of the top strategies for teaching grammar to English language learners.

methodology definition in english language

2. Direct Method

The Direct Method arose during the late 1800s to the early 1900s as a reaction to the Grammar Translation Approach. Where the GMA emphasized reading and writing, the Direct Method emphasized oral communication. Its motto is “demonstrate, don’t translate.” Instead of teaching the students grammar and vocabulary explicitly and practicing translation, the Direct Method relies on direct exposure to the language through listening, visuals and realia. Grammar is taught inductively, and only the target language is spoken in class. The Direct Method aims to have students strive to think in the target language from the outset. For this reason, examples, gestures and realia abound as there is a solid effort to contextualize the new language to make it understandable without resorting to the student’s native language. The Direct Method should properly be classified as part of the Natural Approach to language learning, were it not for the fact that it precedes it by several decades.

Read more about the Direct Method and four other ESL teaching methods every teacher should know.

3. Audiolingual Method

This method originated from the so-called “Army Method,” the intensive foreign language training program practiced by the U.S. Army during WWII. This emphasized memorization and repetition of basic language patterns to gradually learn how to speak the language and understand its elementary grammar structures. The Army Method subsequently morphed into the Aural-Oral Approach (developed by Charles Fries), which attached great importance to pronunciation and intonation and based language teaching on the “intensive oral drilling of its basic patterns.” The Audiolingual Method is essentially an evolution of the Army Method and the Aural-Oral Approach. It is based on Behaviorism and considers language as essentially a form of behavior to be acquired and fostered through the development of proper speech habits. Thus, oral drilling is critical in this method.

The Audiolingual Method includes many useful activities that are still used even by teachers who have not adopted the method in its totality. For example, in restoration , words are extracted from a text. The students must use them to create a sentence. For example: “Two boys/playing/board game” is used to create the sentence, “Two boys are playing a board game.” In transformation , the students are asked to transform a statement into a negative sentence or a question, or they have to go from a present to a past sentence (modification of the tense). In integration , two sentences are condensed into one. For example: “She is late. It is unusual” becomes “It is unusual that she is late.”

4. Bilingual Method

In the Bilingual Method , created by C.J. Dobson in the 1960s, the teacher uses both the native and target language as instruction vehicles. The native language is reserved for grammar and vocabulary explanations (a practice it shares with the GTA) but most of the class is conducted in L2. The method has several positive outcomes. Teaching grammar and vocabulary in the native language saves time. It fosters fluency because most of the class is conducted in English, and since students can clearly understand grammar rules, it also supports accuracy. Some of the downsides of the Bilingual Method are that students may end up relying too much on their native language; it also requires teachers who are proficient in the target and native language; finally, the teacher must be able to strike a balance between the use of L1 and L2 to avoid bilingualism becoming a new version of the GTA.

methodology definition in english language

5. Communicative Approach or Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

CLT took shape during the 1970s to early 1980s. One of its distinguishing features is that it posits communication as both the means and the goal of language learning (acquisition of communicative competence). Learners acquire language by interaction. Therefore, CLT emphasizes oral communication rather than grammar or textbook-based learning. “Communicative language teaching (…) pays systematic attention to functional as well as structural aspects of language, combining these in a more fully communicative view.” The communicative approach shares many aspects with the functional approach.

Learn about teaching suprasegmentals, such as tone, rhythm or intonation, in the ESL classroom.

6. Functional Approach

The Functional Approach arose at roughly the same time as the Communicative Approach and is closely connected to it. Both approaches signal a shift from teaching language as a system of rules (grammar) that the learner needs to acquire before speaking to teaching communicative competence. In the Functional Approach , grammar is not seen as an abstract set of rules but in relation “to the social purposes for which people use language and the grammatical resources of their linguistic repertoire, on which they draw to communicate.”

As the name suggests, the Functional Approach focuses on the communicative functions during an interaction, for example, making a request, introducing oneself, expressing a wish and so on. However, the context of the communication, including its participants, purpose and communication channel (in person, email, phone, etc.), is considered essential to formulate or interpret the message. A request made to a friend or a family member (e.g., “Can we meet tomorrow?”) will differ from one made to an acquaintance, a coworker or a client (e.g., “Would it be possible to set up a meeting for tomorrow?”).

Read about tips for teaching conversational English like a pro.

7. Situational Approach

Also known as the Oral Approach and Situational Language Teaching, this approach took shape in England from the 1920s through the 1960s as a reaction to what was perceived as the limitations of the Direct Method. Theoretically, it was strongly indebted to British structuralism and especially to the work of linguists A.S. Hornby and Harold Palmer. The approach emphasized grammar structures (to be taught inductively or deduced from the context but not taught explicitly), accuracy and pronunciation.

The four language skills were to be taught starting from listening and speaking, introducing reading and writing once the learner’s oral skills had already started to develop. Instruction was to be conducted exclusively in the TL. Grammar structures were gradually integrated into the content. Teachers made use of several demonstrative teaching tools, such as charts, flashcards, posters, pictures, etc.

The Situational Approach is often mentioned together with the Functional Approach. However, the two approaches differ in some significant ways. In the Situational Approach, teachers base learning units on specific topics and lexical areas, for example, at the post office, at the airport, seeing a doctor and so on. Clearly, in each of these situations, different communicative functions will be used. In an interaction between doctor and patient, the patient will make a request for an appointment; the doctor will invite the patient into the examination room and give advice or suggestions to the patient. The Situational Approach does not focus on these functions per se but rather on the language (lexical areas) related to the specific situation.

In addition, the Functional Approach considers the social context of the interaction and thus the register (formal, informal) of the communication. In the Situational Approach, it is not always possible to teach different registers of language from the outset because it is believed that grammar structures must be taught in order of difficulty. The Functional Approach has no such restrictions. Forms like “Do you want?” can be taught at the same time as “Would you like?”

Read about some of the favorite tech teaching tools of online teachers.

methodology definition in english language

8. Structural Approach

The Structural Approach originates from the work of French linguist Ferdinand De Saussure. It represents another reaction to the Grammar/Translation method. The approach is based on the idea that language is basically speech and, therefore, precedence should be given to spoken language. A language is best learned through the mastery of grammar structures. The best way to understand and internalize these structures is through exposure and oral practice. Therefore, the Structural Approach privileges in-class interaction among students and between students and the teacher. The structures should be graded from the easiest to the most complex (this idea still informs the organization of many textbooks). In the structuralist view, the English language is comprised of two sets of words, structural words and content words (lexicon). Structural words are used to organize content words into sentence patterns. For example, in the sentence “The man has been complaining already for an hour,” the, has been, already, for and an are structure words, while man, complaining and hour are content words. The Structural Approach shares many aspects with the Functional Approach, as both have their theoretical basis in structuralist linguistics. The two approaches are complementary rather than contradictory.

If you struggle to find the balance between teaching grammar structures and building fluency, read this guide to fluency vs. accuracy in English language teaching for tips.

9. Natural Approach

The Natural Approach was developed at the beginning of the 1980s by a Spanish teacher, Tracy Terrel, and an applied linguist, Stephen Krashen. The principles and practices of the approach were laid out in the 1983 book The Natural Approach . An essential distinction is made by the authors between language acquisition and language learning. Language acquisition refers to the natural process of acquiring a language (exposure, contextualization and repetition). This is the way children acquire their first language. Language learning happens through the conscious study of grammar structures and vocabulary. The approach proposed by Terrel and Krashen is geared toward language acquisition. For the learner to successfully acquire a second language, certain conditions must be present:

  • Comprehensible input – the learner must be exposed to considerable amounts of language input. This input must be comprehensible (the learner must be enabled to make the connection between sound and meaning) lest it is perceived as just background noise.
  • Speech production should not be forced but allowed to emerge naturally when the learner is ready.
  • Language is acquired gradually, with some structures emerging later than others. For example, the s in the third person singular of English verbs tend to emerge later than the other persons. The speaker will produce more complex forms when they have had enough exposure.
  • The “affective filter” has an impact on learning outcomes. The term affective filter refers to the learner’s emotional state. For language learners to be successful, they need motivation, self-confidence and low anxiety. Lack of motivation, low self-esteem and high anxiety all negatively impact language acquisition.

The Natural Approach has features in common with both the Direct Method (a focus on L2 without using the native language and an inductive approach to grammar) and the Communicative Approach (a focus on teaching communicative abilities). It is characterized by its flexibility and adoption of any strategy that can facilitate language acquisition. It makes large use of TPR (Total Physical Response) techniques , especially in the initial stages of instruction, visual aids, realia and essentially any tool that can help to contextualize words and make their meaning explicit. One of the most interesting strategies that have emerged for the Natural Approach is TPRS, Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling.

Learn about 10 fun ways to use realia in the ESL classroom.

methodology definition in english language

10. Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)

TPRS fully embraces the Natural Approach’s vision of language acquisition and its prerequisites (CI, the affective filter and so on). Building on Krashen’s theory of language acquisition, it has created a precise strategy to encourage L2 acquisition, referred to as “the recipe.” In the TPRS class, the teacher introduces a simple story through statements (e.g., “There was a boy.”) accompanied by pictures that illustrate the story. The teacher then invites the students to become cocreators of the story initially by answering simple questions and later by adding characters and details. The recipe is summarized as ACT, ACT, Describe.

ACT stands for Add, Circle and Triangle. Characters or details are added to the story by the teacher and the students; the teacher subsequently asks questions to the whole class that responds chorally with one-word answers (yes, no, etc.). This is known as circling . In the triangling phase, the teacher zeros in on a single student, asks them questions and demands full-sentence answers. When the story has developed enough, the teacher asks the students to describe what has happened so far. This is known as DtS or “Describe the Situation.”

TPRS is a very flexible method that can be applied even to ESP. Zayde Gonzales, TPRS teacher and teacher trainer, explains: “We co-create stories with students of different ages, countries, cultures and needs. For businesspeople, we use the high-frequency words of their sector, business or country. In the end, they can handle how to communicate effectively according to their needs.”

Learn more about TPRS, a language acquisition strategy that’s growing in popularity.

11. CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)

CLIL was developed during the 1990s to integrate language learning and content learning. The approach was partly inspired by Canadian bilingualism and immersion programs in North America. It emerged from the historical context of an increasingly plurilingual, multicultural and economically interdependent Europe. In an extensive review of CLIL’s background, principles and practices, Zehra Gabillon states that its “well-defined key principles distinguish it from other practices. CLIL aims to (a) respect plurilingual teaching philosophies, (b) consider language, content, communication, context and cognition as an inseparable unified entity, (c) create naturalistic learning environments, (d) provide tasks that promote cognitive engagement and creativity, (e) allow collaborative knowledge building, (f) promote dialogical interaction and (g) develop awareness of self and others.”

CLIL was initially created as a foreign language teaching method that could respond to the specificity of local needs and contexts. However, CLIL is not a method. It is rather an approach characterized by its flexibility. Any method can be integrated into CLIL. Also, CLIL is not simply a language teaching approach strictly because language competence is not its only aim. In Gabillon’s words, “learners’ active participation, cognitive skills development (i.e., critical thinking and problem-solving), content acquisition, inter- and transcultural competencies and language skills development are all considered equally important.”

Bridge provides Specialized Certification in CLIL as well as engaging sample CLIL lesson plans for the ESL/EFL classroom .

Learn more about the benefits of CLIL in bilingual education.

methodology definition in english language

12. Task/Project-Based Learning

Task-Based and Project-Based Learning share the idea that students learn best when engaged in activities that are meaningful and purposeful. This idea can be traced back to the pragmatist philosophy of John Dewey and his student William Heard Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick developed the so-called Project Method, an approach to education in which the teacher acts more as a facilitator than an authority figure and learning activities center around the needs and interests of the students.

In language teaching, TBL/PBL became popular as part of Communicative Language Teaching. It aimed to create a student-centered classroom that encouraged collaboration and communication. The primary difference between TBL and PBL is one of scale. While TBL focuses on single tasks that are attainable in a short amount of time, PBL selects a topic for a project that may last from one week to a whole semester or even a school year, and that often consists of several smaller tasks.

Both TBL and PBL involve different stages. In TBL, during the pre-task stage , the teacher introduces the topic and task and scaffolds the language. In stage two, students perform the task in pairs or small groups and present it to the class. This stage focuses on communicating results in the target language rather than on the accuracy of the language. In stage three, the teacher attends to the language issues that may have come up during the presentation, thus focusing on accuracy.

Similarly, PBL involves a phase one, during which the teacher introduces the topic to be investigated and sets up the activities through which students will carry out the investigation; in phase two, the students are given access to resources to work on the project; in phase three, students exchange ideas, collaborate and communicate findings; and finally, in phase four, they produce a final product in the form of a poster, a video, a presentation, a blog and so on. TBL and PBL allow language to emerge naturally as a byproduct of the class activities. They also encourage collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

Ready to learn more about Task-Based Learning? Check out this guide to the popular teaching method.

13. Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom approach to learning is not a novel idea, but it has become more widely used since the introduction of technology in education and the availability of online resources. The concept underlying it is that class time can be more efficiently used if students study the class material in advance instead of being exposed to it during a lecture. Class time can then be used for analyzing, discussing and practicing the study material. One of the advantages (and challenges) of the Flipped Classroom is that it requires students’ active participation and fosters Bloom’s Taxonomy higher-order thinking skills like critical thinking and problem-solving. Instead of being spoon-fed information by the teacher, students must confront the material directly and come to class ready to discuss it.

Learn more about effective ways to teach critical thinking skills in the ESL classroom.

methodology definition in english language

14. Blended Learning

Blended Learning is a common teaching strategy in online classes. It shares some aspects with the Flipped Classroom because students are expected to complete some classwork independently. As with the Flipped Classroom, Blended Learning tends to work better with older, highly motivated students. It combines synchronous and asynchronous activities. Students complete skill-building activities or homework on their own time, and class time is devoted to listening, speaking or other activities that necessitate interaction with the teacher and other students. Like the Flipped Classroom, Blended Learning allows for more efficient use of the limited class time. Blended Learning has become quite popular in recent years after the pandemic and the lockdowns forced most students to work from home.

Learn how to modernize your teaching to equip your students with the skills they’ll need for the workforce with Bridge’s suite of 21st-Century Teaching Skills Micro-credentials.

15. Lexical Approach: Corpora and Data-Driven Learning

Advancements in technology have propelled the development of Corpora and Data-Driven Learning. Corpora, collections of examples of authentic language derived from newspapers, recordings of conversations, literature, etc., are the main tool of instruction used in the Lexical Approach. As explained in Methods of Language Teaching , the approach is based on the idea that most of the language people use is not made up of grammatical structures but of “chunks,” of expressions that typically have a noun, verb or adjective, typically with a preposition (e.g., by the way) and lexical collocations, or pairing words (e.g., prices fell, grave danger, fast food).

The spread of personal computers and the internet has helped to identify high-frequency words and their standard collocation, and teachers can use this information to raise learners’ awareness of the lexical nature of language. Even teachers who don’t share the Lexical Approach’s view of language can use Corpora to select the lexicon and phrases they want to focus on. Activities often include first and second language comparisons and translation, repetition and recycling of activities to practice words and expressions that have been learned, using context to determine meanings of unfamiliar words and identifying language patterns and collocations.

This approach may be useful for Business English and ESP learners, as there are so many lexical collocations specific to different industries and often, the purpose of learning English will be to communicate effectively within that sphere.

Read about the growing demand for Business English learning and teaching resources that include corpora to aid language acquisition.

Combining technology with learning methodologies

Many of the learning methodologies mentioned above can be used in a brick-and-mortar classroom or an online one. In either case, many teachers integrate technology into their instruction. The introduction of technology in the ESL/EFL classroom has added many great tools to the language teacher’s arsenal.

We were able to move the time-consuming study of grammar to a self-paced sequence where we used videos.

The Flipped Classroom, Blended Learning and Corpora and Data-Driven Learning are the most obvious examples of tech-supported instruction, but technology can supplement any teaching methodology.

Robert Szabo, VP at Learnship, a B2B language training provider, described some of the ways his company uses technology to serve learners. “We created a cross-platform curriculum,” he said. “So, there’s the flipped classroom. We were able to move the time-consuming study of grammar to a self-paced sequence where we used videos. We basically recorded teachers with subtitles explaining a set piece.”

The technology adds something that traditional classroom teaching doesn’t necessarily have because you’ve got a holder for all these videos, audio and images to take a bit of load off the acquisition phase and put more emphasis on the production phase.

Szabo gave the example of teaching the present perfect. “You can record a strong set-piece explanation of the usage of the present perfect,” he said. “And then you create exercises related to the video in terms of meaning, form and pronunciation.”

The idea behind this approach is that students will have watched the video, learned the content, viewed the language used in context, completed the exercises and then show up to class prepared, already familiar with the present perfect tense.

“The technology adds something that traditional classroom teaching doesn’t necessarily have because you’ve got a holder for all these videos, audio and images to take a bit of load off the acquisition phase and put more emphasis on the production phase,” Szabo said.

He warned that producing a strong, robust explanation takes practice. A first-year teacher may struggle, but over time, creating robust recordings like these becomes easier.

methodology definition in english language

EdTech Consultant Miriam Plieninger also praised the use of technology to aid classroom learning.

Machine feedback to learner input is quicker and more scalable than teacher feedback, and through AI, increasingly can handle input that does not need to match pre-defined solutions or distractors.

“Asynchronous tech elements provide additional learning opportunities independent of time and place,” she said. “They can support a flipped classroom approach, in which learners benefit from guided self-study to prepare for an in-person class (allowing for more real language production time in class).”

She also pointed out the benefits of documentation and feedback that come with using technology.

“Tech can allow instant documentation of what’s discussed/studied. Machine feedback to learner input is quicker and more scalable than teacher feedback, and through AI, increasingly can handle input that does not need to match pre-defined solutions or distractors,” Plieninger said. “Tech solutions have the potential to personalize learning paths at scale (based on learning targets + current strengths and weaknesses). All these elements can be orchestrated and quality-controlled by in-person instructors and can supplement in-person teaching.”

The new kid on the block – ChatGPT

And then there’s the new kid on the block in the technology field – ChatGPT and similar AI chatbots. Teachers will have to get acquainted with this tool because even if they choose not to use it, students will, and sometimes for nefarious purposes. So, what are the possible applications of AI and Chat GPT in the language classroom?

You can say, ‘Okay, I want to listen to a woman with an Indian accent or listen to a man with a British accent,’ for example. So, there’s this personalization story for the learner.

“It’s a very powerful tool as long as you have very specific prompts and a very careful editing phase,” Szabo said. “What you can do with ChatGPT, and what we have done, is create these prompts in such a way that you can start with elicitation questions. And you can get those elicitation questions from ChatGPT. You can also get it to gauge the proficiency level of the wording that it uses. You can ask it to include certain vocabulary sets. You can ask it to include certain grammar constructions and get it to create your exercises.”

Szabo said he always tells people that “it’s like a pneumatic drill. You can destroy the road and your feet if you don’t know how to use it. It’s a powerful tool. And I think it’s the same with ChatGPT.”

Another interesting application of AI and ChatGPT is that they can expose learners to different varieties, accents and registers of the English language. Szabo pointed out, “You can say, ‘Okay, I want to listen to a woman with an Indian accent or listen to a man with a British accent,’ for example. So, there’s this personalization story for the learner.”

Expert consensus: Multiple methodologies are needed

Historically, there has been a strong continuity in the approaches and methodologies of English Language Teaching. Each approach/methodology arose as a reaction to or a development of previous ones. Each approach/methodology seems to have emerged from the cultural and theoretical climate of its time and as a response to changing needs.

If the teacher is teaching ‘in country,’ then it would be wise to be flexible and prepared to adapt to the language/culture in which they find themselves and in relation to the type of institution they are working in.

However, each has contributed aspects that have been incorporated into teaching and have persisted over time. It stands to reason, then, that teachers should be acquainted with the various approaches and strategies and extract from them whatever serves their specific instructional needs.

John Hughes, President of TESL Canada, said, “If the teacher is teaching ‘in country,’ then it would be wise to be flexible and prepared to adapt to the language/culture in which they find themselves and in relation to the type of institution they are working in. For example, if you are working in China, and the program is very exam/assessment focused, and class sizes are large, CLT may not be the answer! If I can turn that around, in the UK HE sector, we expect/desire that students are active participants, especially at the university level, and there is a tendency that students from certain countries/cultures are not really used to that, and it is quite a steep learning curve.”

All these methodologies provide many more opportunities for interaction compared to other methodologies, and we know that language is learned when used to meaningfully interact with others.

Hughes provided an example involving the skill of critical thinking. “The issue of engaging with and demonstrating critical thinking, for example, can be tough and not what is expected in their ‘home’ environment,” he said. “Likewise, group work, especially if the nationalities and cultures are more mixed, can need support and, at times, intervention from the teacher to keep everyone on track, in a TBLT project task, for instance. So, for teachers, try to be patient, supportive and sensitive to the students in your cohort.”

Peterson of Westcliff University agreed that multiple methodologies are needed for instruction but described some methods he favors, including communicative language learning, task-based learning and project-based learning.

“All these methodologies provide many more opportunities for interaction compared to other methodologies, and we know that language is learned when used to meaningfully interact with others,” he said. “Using these methodologies, you are more likely to have a student-centered class in which students are actively engaged rather than a teacher-centered class where students are passive learners.”

Jennifer Maguire, Bridge B2B Content Marketing Manager and 10-year English teacher believes that when selecting a methodology, “teachers should keep in mind the individual learning styles of their students, their short and long-term goals and their interests. The methodologies I have found to be most effective for language learners are small-group, collaborative, task-based and project-based learning. In any case, I think it’s important that classes be student-centered.”

So, how can teachers keep abreast of the many ESL methodologies they should know ? Bridge has online TEFL courses that are accessible all over the world, many of which can be part of university pathways. Additionally, the monthly Expert Series webinars , which provide Certificates of Professional Development, feature teaching insights from leading experts in the ELT industry around the world.

Interested in learning more about teaching methodologies in ELT? Download a guide to the most popular ESL learning methodologies and their applications in online and in-person classrooms.

methodology definition in english language

Linda D'Argenio

Linda D'Argenio is a native of Naples, Italy. She is a world language teacher (English, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese,) translator, and writer. She has studied and worked in Italy, Germany, China, and the U.S. In 2003, Linda earned her doctoral degree in Classical Chinese Literature from Columbia University. She has taught students at both the school and college levels. Linda lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • ELT Concourse home
  • A-Z site index
  • Teacher training index
  • Teacher development
  • For teachers
  • For trainers
  • For managers
  • For learners
  • About language
  • Language questions
  • Other areas
  • Academic English
  • Business English
  • Entering ELT
  • Courses index
  • Basic ELT course
  • Language analysis
  • Training to train
  • Transcription

Concourse 2

A glossary of methodology and background theory for English Language Teachers

This is one of several glossaries on the site. For the full list, use this link: Glossaries Index .

The following allows you to do two things:

  • Get a quick definition of terms used in English Language Teaching
  • Follow links to guides (in any section of the site) which discuss the concepts and provide examples

Grammar, lexis and phonology are excluded as they have their own glossary which you can access here .

The following is available for private use as a PDF document but it comes, of course, with none of the interactivity and links to guides.  It will also not be as frequently updated. Click here to get the document .

If you are looking for something in particular, you can use Ctrl + F to search this page or use this menu.  The Back button on your browser will return you to this menu.

All links on this page open in a new tab.  Cross references are in black .

Contact | FAQs | Copyright notice | ELT Concourse charter | Disclaimer and Privacy statement | Search ELT Concourse

My English Pages Logo

What is the difference between method and methodology in teaching?

difference between method and methodology in teaching

The difference between method and methodology in teaching?

English Language Teaching (ELT) terminology can be sometimes confusing. This post attempts to describe the difference between method and methodology in teaching. Other ELT terms such as approach and syllabus are also discussed.

It is worthwhile mentioning that the following definitions are mainly based on works by H. Douglas Brown (1987) and Richards and Rodgers (1986)


A definition of methodology can be confusing. The word “methodology” is frequently used when “ method ” would be more accurate. Methodology refers to more than a simple set of methods. It is the rationale and the philosophical assumptions that underlie a particular study. It indicates the theoretical analysis of the methods. In language teaching, methodology means the study of pedagogical practices in general, including theoretical implications and related research.  It includes what is involved in how to teach.

Citing the applied linguist Edward Anthony’s model1963, Richards and Rodgers (1986, p. 19) refer to approach as “the level at which assumptions and beliefs about language and language learning are specified.” It also includes ways to apply these assumptions and beliefs to language teaching.

A method is “the level at which theory is put into practice and at which choices are made about the particular skills to be taught, the content to be taught and the order in which the content will be presented.” (Richards and Rodgers, 1986, p. 19) It is the plan for organizing the presentation of language material. It is a plan whose parts do not contradict and which relies on an approach.

Simply put syllabus is a language program. This includes objectives of linguistic materials and how they are sequenced to meet the needs of learners.

H. Douglas Brown (1987). Principles of language learning and teaching. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall

Richards, Jack C. and Theodore S. Rodgers (1986). Approaches and methods in language teaching: A description and analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Comments are closed.

methodology definition in english language

Find Study Materials for

  • Business Studies
  • Combined Science
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • Human Geography
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Social Studies
  • Browse all subjects
  • Read our Magazine

Create Study Materials

One of the most important elements of any research paper is the methodology. Methodology is a fancy term for explaining your research method, or the process you use to answer your research question. There are different types of methodologies, so you should always choose one that best answers your research question. When describing your methodology, you will need to define it, describe it, and justify it in your research paper's abstract .

Mockup Schule

Explore our app and discover over 50 million learning materials for free.

  • Methodology
  • Explanations
  • StudySmarter AI
  • Textbook Solutions
  • 5 Paragraph Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cues and Conventions
  • English Grammar
  • English Language Study
  • Essay Prompts
  • Essay Writing Skills
  • Global English
  • History of English Language
  • International English
  • Key Concepts in Language and Linguistics
  • Language Acquisition
  • Language Analysis
  • Language and Social Groups
  • Lexis and Semantics
  • Linguistic Terms
  • Listening and Speaking
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Research and Composition
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay
  • Single Paragraph Essay
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Research Methodology
  • Synthesis Essay
  • Textual Analysis

Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken

Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.

Methodology Definition

When you hear the word “methodology,” it might sound intimidating! But it's really just a fancy word referring to an explanation of your research methods .

A research method is the steps you take to answer your research question.

When describing your methodology, explain what you will do to answer your research question and how you will accomplish it.

Methodology. A book sinks in the sand. StudySmarter.

Methodology Examples

In an abstract , you will need to explain your methodology. Some examples of explaining your methodology include the ways you collected and analysed data (such as through surveys), the type of research you chose, and your rationale behind the methodology.

Below are some examples of methodology. As you read through each one, think about what you would have to know about your research plan to describe it similarly.

This study will analyze presidential candidates' speeches from the twentieth century t o explain how the rise of television changed the rhetorical strategies of American presidential candidates . Using the University of Virginia's Miller Center speech repository, the speeches of candidates who ran for president before the invention of television are compared to those of presidential candidates after television was invented. The analysis focuses on the differences between speech structures and rhetorical strategies to understand how the medium of television changed how presidential candidates appeal to Americans.

Note how this example breaks down a) what the writer is analyzing, b) where they obtained their sources, and c) how they analyzed their sources to answer their research question.

A mixed-method approach was used t o understand how local high school students perceive dress codes . Firstly, a Likert scale survey was disbursed to over 200 students from the Albany school district. The Likert scale is generally considered to be the gold standard of ordinal data collection.

Survey takers were asked to rank their agreement with statements about dress codes on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” At the end of the survey, participants were asked if they would be interested in discussing their opinions further in an interview. Open-ended interviews were conducted with 50 respondents to contextualize and gain a more in-depth understanding of the survey rankings.

Note how this example makes it clear a) what type of survey was used, b) why the author chose that survey, c) what they hoped to learn from the survey, and d) how they supplemented it with interview questions.

Methodology Types

Your methodology is unique to your paper topic, but it will largely fall into one of 4 types: qualitative, quantitative, mixed, or creative.

Which type of methodology you choose will depend on:

  • Your research question
  • Your field of research
  • Your purpose for research

The Four Types of Methodology

Look over the table below for an overview of the different types of methodology. There are also some examples of methodology that can be used to structure your arguments.

Choosing Your Methodology

To choose your methodology, follow this process: determine your approach to answering your research question, determine the type of methodology you need, try different methods, and narrow down your choices. Consider your project's time, space, and resource limitations before making a final decision.

Need help? Follow the step-by-step below to choose your methodology:

Step 1. Determine Your Approach

Every research project is guided by a research question.

A research question is the main question you hope to answer in a research essay.

You may have a general idea of your research question, but it helps to write it out. Use this question to identify your approach. Maybe you are trying to explore patterns, explain a concept, or create a new design. Looking at your research question, ask yourself, "What am I trying to do with this research?"

Different Approaches

Explore: This is a non-experimental approach. You aren't experimenting with ideas so much as trying to understand them more deeply. When you explore a topic, you examine an aspect of it, look for themes, or identify variables. If your topic is not very widely known, you might be exploring it!

Explain . This is an experimental approach. You are describing connections between groups or variables. You are looking to see if things are connected in a way we don't already know. If a topic is already well-known, but you are trying to prove a specific aspect or connection, you might be explaining!

Create. This approach is a creative process rather than an attempt to explain or explore a concept. With this approach, you design a solution to a problem, establish a need, and describe how your solution meets that need. If you are coming up with an entirely new process or design, you might be creating!

Methodology. A sunbeam shoots through a cave. StudySmarter.

Step 2: Choose a Method Type

Your approach determines which type of method you need. Use the flowchart and guidance below to determine which type of method you need:

  • Ask yourself, "Do I also need numerical data to explore this?" If the answer is yes, you should use mixed methods, combining both qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • This means you should use quantitative methods. Ask yourself, "Do I also need to analyze people's words and experiences to explain this topic?" If the answer is yes, you should use mixed methods.
  • Ask yourself, "Do I also need to examine numerical data or people's words and experiences to create this idea?" If the answer is yes, you should use mixed methods, combining creative methods with either quantitative or qualitative methods.

Step 3. Try Different Methods

Once you know which type of method you need, it's time to decide on the specifics. Exactly what methods within that type do you need?

Write down a few ideas. For example, if you need qualitative methods, you might consider interviewing people, analyzing texts, or conducting open-ended surveys. Don't limit yourself! This is the experimental phase. Write down as many possibilities as you can think of.

Step 4. Narrow Down Your Method Choices

Once you have some ideas, it's time to make some tough choices. You should only have 1-2 methods.

To narrow down your choices, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the best way to answer my research question?
  • Which of these choices have I seen other researchers on this topic using?
  • What are some of the most commonly accepted methods in my field of study?
  • Which methods will I have time to complete?
  • Which methods do I have the resources to complete?

Justifying Your Methodology

When describing your methodology in an abstract, you need to justify your choices. Explain why this method is the best one to answer your research question.

Be Specific

When describing your chosen methods, be as specific as possible. Make it clear exactly what you did and how you did it.

Fifteen new mothers (women who gave birth for the first time less than one year ago) responded to a 10-question survey of open-ended questions on new motherhood. These questions focused on what it is like to experience new motherhood in the hospital immediately following birth, in the few weeks after returning home, and relating to jobs and family life. Survey responses were analyzed to understand how new mothers' experiences are shaped by these first few weeks.

Methodology, Doctors, StudySmarter

Back It Up with Research

To justify your methods, you also need to clarify how your methods align with the best practices in the field you are studying. To justify your methods, you might include any of the following information:

  • Which other researchers have used similar methods to study this topic or a closely related topic.
  • Whether your methods are standard practice in your field of study.
  • How your methods align with industry standards (this is particularly helpful for creative methods).

Methodology - Key Takeaways

  • Methodology is a fancy word for research methods. A research method is the steps you take to answer your research question.
  • Your methodology is unique to your paper topic, but it will largely fall into one of 4 categories: qualitative, quantitative, mixed, or creative.
  • To choose your methodology, determine your approach to answering your research question, determine the type of methodology you need, try different methods, and narrow down your choices.
  • You should have only 1-2 methods for your research paper.
  • When describing your methodology in an abstract, you need to justify your choices by being specific and using research to back your points up.

Frequently Asked Questions about Methodology

--> what is the meaning of methodology .

Methodology means the research methods used for a research project. Research methods are the steps you take to answer a research question.

--> What is an example of methodology?

An example of methodology is as follows:

To explain how the rise of television changed the rhetorical strategies of American presidential candidates, this study analyzes the speeches of presidential candidates from the twentieth century. Using the University of Virginia's Miller Center speech repository, the speeches of candidates who ran for president before the invention of television are compared to those of presidential candidates after television was invented. Analysis focuses on the differences between speech structures and rhetorical strategies to understand how the medium of television changed the ways in which presidential candidates appeal to Americans.

--> What is the importance of methodology in the English language?

Methodology is important for explaining your research methods when writing a research paper. 

--> What is the role of methodology in language teaching? 

The role of methodology is important in language teaching because English language teachers show you how to develop and explain research methodologies so you can answer your research questions and describe how you did so convincingly.

Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

What does the type of methodology one chooses depend on? 

A researcher uses case studies to describe the context of a situation. What type of methodology is this an example of?

A researcher conducts a lab experiment to identify the effects of a vitamin. What type of methodology is this an example of? 

Your score:

Smart Exams

Join the StudySmarter App and learn efficiently with millions of flashcards and more!

Learn with 20 methodology flashcards in the free studysmarter app.

Already have an account? Log in

Finish the sentence:

Methodology refers to an explanation of one's ______.

Methodology refers to an explanation of one's  research methods.

What are research methods ?

Research methods are the steps you take to answer your research question.

The research question



A researcher analyzes numerical datasets to identify correlations between smoking and alcoholism. They also interview people who identify as both smokers and alcoholics to explore why these correlations exist. 

What type of methodology is this an example of?


of the users don't pass the Methodology quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

How would you like to learn this content?

Free english cheat sheet!

Everything you need to know on . A perfect summary so you can easily remember everything.

Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

  • Flashcards & Quizzes
  • AI Study Assistant
  • Study Planner
  • Smart Note-Taking

Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

This is still free to read, it's not a paywall.

You need to register to keep reading, create a free account to save this explanation..

Save explanations to your personalised space and access them anytime, anywhere!

By signing up, you agree to the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy of StudySmarter.

Entdecke Lernmaterial in der StudySmarter-App

Google Popup


  1. PPT

    methodology definition in english language

  2. PPT

    methodology definition in english language

  3. Approach, method and Technique in Language Learning and teaching

    methodology definition in english language

  4. PPT

    methodology definition in english language

  5. What is a METHODOLOGY

    methodology definition in english language

  6. PPT

    methodology definition in english language


  1. Questionnaire || Meaning and Definition || Type and Characteristics || Research Methodology ||

  2. Methodology

  3. Evolve Meaning in English, Definition, & Synonyms

  4. Yup Definition


  6. Egregious Meaning in English, Definition, & Synonyms



    METHODOLOGY definition: 1. a system of ways of doing, teaching, or studying something: 2. a system of ways of doing…. Learn more.

  2. Methodology Definition & Meaning

    methodology: [noun] a body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline : a particular procedure or set of procedures.

  3. Methodology

    Methodology is a system of practices and procedures that a teacher uses to teach. It will be based on beliefs about the nature of language, and how it is learnt (known as 'Approach'). Example. Grammar Translation, the Audiolingual Method and the Direct Method are clear methodologies, with associated practices and procedures, and are each based ...

  4. METHODOLOGY definition and meaning

    2 meanings: 1. the system of methods and principles used in a particular discipline 2. the branch of philosophy concerned with.... Click for more definitions.

  5. METHODOLOGY Definition & Meaning

    Methodology definition: a set or system of methods, principles, and rules for regulating a given discipline, as in the arts or sciences.. See examples of METHODOLOGY used in a sentence.

  6. methodology noun

    a set of methods and principles used to perform a particular activity. recent changes in the methodology of language teaching; research methodologies

  7. Methodology

    v. t. e. In its most common sense, methodology is the study of research methods. However, the term can also refer to the methods themselves or to the philosophical discussion of associated background assumptions. A method is a structured procedure for bringing about a certain goal, like acquiring knowledge or verifying knowledge claims.

  8. METHODOLOGY definition in American English

    noun. 1. the science of method, or orderly arrangement; specif., the branch of logic concerned with the application of the principles of reasoning to scientific and philosophical inquiry. 2. Word forms: plural ˌmethodˈologies. a system of methods, as in any particular science. Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition.

  9. methodology

    • The danger is that the question of methodology can easily be turned to dogma according to any premises. • Two kinds of move are ruled out by Lakatos's methodology. • This is unforgivable in the realm of scientific methodology. • scientific methodology • This means that methodologies from one area are not necessarily transferable.

  10. METHODOLOGY definition

    METHODOLOGY meaning: the system of methods used for doing, teaching, or studying something. Learn more.

  11. methodology noun

    Definition of methodology noun in Oxford Advanced American Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. ... American English ... a set of methods and principles used to perform a particular activity recent changes in the methodology of language teaching research methodologies.

  12. methodology, n. meanings, etymology and more

    The earliest known use of the noun methodology is in the 1800s. OED's earliest evidence for methodology is from 1800, in Medical & Physical Journal. methodology is formed within English, by compounding; probably modelled on a Latin lexical item. Etymons: method n., ‑ology comb. form.

  13. methodology

    methodology - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. All Free. ... methodology language, thank you methodology of(?) methods (=methodology) is or are ... no more dry bones methodology prioritization scoring methodology Quality improvement methodology

  14. Methodology

    Define methodology. methodology synonyms, methodology pronunciation, methodology translation, English dictionary definition of methodology. n. pl. meth·od·ol·o·gies 1.

  15. English Language Teaching: Approaches, Methods, and Techniques

    Approach, Method & Technique. An approach describes the theory or philosophy underlying how a language should be taught; a method or methodology describes, in general terms, a way of implementing the approach (syllabus, progression, kinds of materials); techniques describe specific practical classroom tasks and activities. For example:

  16. Debunking the Methodology Myth: Identifying Multiple Methods of ESL

    English as a world language. Today, English is possibly the most widely taught and spoken language in the world. It is the de jure or de facto official language in 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign territories.According to some estimates, English is spoken by two billion people worldwide, with native speakers making up about four-hundred million of them.

  17. Methodology in Language Teaching

    Product description. Methodology in Language Teaching provides an overview of approaches, issues, and practices in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages. This book provides an overview of current approaches, issues, and practices in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages. The anthology offers a comprehensive ...

  18. A glossary of methodology and background theory for English Language

    A development is audio-visual teaching making use of images, moving or otherwise. Any chart, diagram, object, video sequence or audio recording etc. used in a classroom. Referring to hearing / listening. The degree to which teaching materials come from the 'real world' and are used as originally intended.

  19. Definitions Of Methodology And Other ELT Terms

    Methodology refers to more than a simple set of methods. It is the rationale and the philosophical assumptions that underlie a particular study. It indicates the theoretical analysis of the methods. In language teaching, methodology means the study of pedagogical practices in general, including theoretical implications and related research.

  20. Methodology: Definition & Examples

    A research method is the steps you take to answer your research question. Your methodology is unique to your paper topic, but it will largely fall into one of 4 categories: qualitative, quantitative, mixed, or creative. To choose your methodology, determine your approach to answering your research question, determine the type of methodology you ...

  21. Approach, Method, Procedure, and Techniques In Language Learning

    In language teaching, in the general area of teaching methodology, people talk about approaches, methods, procedures, and techniques. This post will help to clarify the meaning of these interrelated terms and provide examples of each. Approaches An approach is a theory about language learning or even a philosophy of how people learn in general.

  22. (PDF) English Language Teaching Methodology

    Methodology. 1. INTRODUCTION. In this fast growing competitive world English has been spoken by one quarter of world's. population. (1), En glish language has became a compulsory link language ...