Methodology

METHODOLOGY: “a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity” — New Oxford American Dictionary

Methodology may be one of the most overused words in business, and thanks to the recent shenanigans of certain climate research scientists, the word is mushrooming all over the ‘net like mosquitos at a global warming summit. Most of the news articles used methodology correctly to describe an all-embracing system of methods and beliefs. A few referred to “the scientific methodology.” BZZZ! Wrong! What the East Anglia folks dissed was the scientific method, even though their methodology is now also suspect. Everyone straight?

Methodologies are not the same as methods. Your company may have a methodology of risk assessment or forecasting that encompasses several methods, processes and assumptions. But just because you may have more than one method for a process, it doesn’t mean you have a methodology. So you can stop pontificating about your screen printing methodologies or your shipping methodologies. The word you want is methods.

The suffix “ology” is Greek for “study” — technically, this makes methodology the study of methods. Those five letters exist for a reason other than to add more syllables to your verbiage and make you (supposedly) sound smarter. If you insist on using big words incorrectly, you need to re-examine your methodology to encompass a less pretentious attitude and better writing, speaking and thinking methods.

Otto E. Mezzo

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