Methodology

Methodology is the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study. It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles associated with a branch of knowledge. Typically, it encompasses concepts such as paradigm, theoretical model, phases and quantitative or qualitative techniques.[1]

A methodology does not set out to provide solutions—it is therefore, not the same as a method. Instead, a methodology offers the theoretical underpinning for understanding which method, set of methods, or best practices can be applied to a specific case, for example, to calculate a specific result.

It has been defined also as follows:

  1. "the analysis of the principles of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline";[2]
  2. "the systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline";[2]
  3. "the study or description of methods".[3]

Methodology, theory, paradigm, algorithm, and method

The methodology is the general research strategy that outlines the way in which research is to be undertaken and, among other things, identifies the methods to be used in it. These methods, described in the methodology, define the means or modes of data collection or, sometimes, how a specific result is to be calculated.[4] Methodology does not define specific methods, even though much attention is given to the nature and kinds of processes to be followed in a particular procedure or to attain an objective.

When proper to a study of methodology, such processes constitute a constructive generic framework, and may therefore be broken down into sub-processes, combined, or their sequence changed.[5]

A paradigm is similar to a methodology in that it is also a constructive framework. In theoretical work, the development of paradigms satisfies most or all of the criteria for methodology.[6] An algorithm, like a paradigm, is also a type of constructive framework, meaning that the construction is a logical, rather than a physical, array of connected elements.

Any description of a means of calculation of a specific result is always a description of a method and never a description of a methodology. It is thus important to avoid using methodology as a synonym for method or body of methods. Doing this shifts it away from its true epistemological meaning and reduces it to being the procedure itself, or the set of tools, or the instruments that should have been its outcome. A methodology is the design process for carrying out research or the development of a procedure and is not in itself an instrument, or method, or procedure for doing things.

Methodology and method are not interchangeable. In recent years, however, there has been a tendency to use methodology as a "pretentious substitute for the word method".[7] Using methodology as a synonym for method or set of methods leads to confusion and misinterpretation and undermines the proper analysis that should go into designing research.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ Irny, S.I. and Rose, A.A. (2005) “Designing a Strategic Information Systems Planning Methodology for Malaysian Institutes of Higher Learning (isp- ipta), Issues in Information System, Volume VI, No. 1, 2005.
  2. ^ a b Methodology Usage Notes, entry at Merriam–Webster
  3. ^ Baskerville, R. (1991). "Risk Analysis as a Source of Professional Knowledge". Computers & Security. 10 (8): 749–764.
  4. ^ Howell, K. E. (2013) Introduction to the Philosophy of Methodology. London: Sage Publications
  5. ^ Katsicas, Sokratis K. (2009). "Chapter 35". In Vacca, John (ed.). Computer and Information Security Handbook. Morgan Kaufmann Publications. Elsevier Inc. p. 605. ISBN 978-0-12-374354-1.
  6. ^ See, for example, Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago, 1970, 2nd ed.)
  7. ^ a b George M. Frankfurter, Theory and Reality in Financial Economics: Essays Toward a New Political Finance

Further reading

  • Berg, Bruce L., 2009, Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Seventh Edition. Boston MA: Pearson Education Inc.
  • Creswell, J. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Creswell, J. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Franklin, M.I. (2012). Understanding Research: Coping with the Quantitative-Qualitative Divide. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Guba, E. and Lincoln, Y. (1989). Fourth Generation Evaluation. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications.
  • Herrman, C. S. (2009). “Fundamentals of Methodology”, a series of papers On the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), online.
  • Howell, K. E. (2013) Introduction to the Philosophy of Methodology. London: Sage Publications.
  • Ndira, E. Alana, Slater, T. and Bucknam, A. (2011). Action Research for Business, Nonprofit, and Public Administration - A Tool for Complex Times . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Joubish, Farooq Dr. (2009). Educational Research Department of Education, Federal Urdu University, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd edition). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Silverman, David (Ed). (2011). Qualitative Research: Issues of Theory, Method and Practice, Third Edition. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage Publications
  • Soeters, Joseph; Shields, Patricia and Rietjens, Sebastiaan. 2014. Handbook of Research Methods in Military Studies New York: Routledge.
  • Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, W. A. Neilson, T. A. Knott, P. W. Carhart (eds.), G. & C. Merriam Company, Springfield, MA, 1950.

External links

5S (methodology)

5S is a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri (整理), seiton (整頓), seisō (清掃), seiketsu (清潔), and shitsuke (躾). These have been translated as "Sort", "Set In order", "Shine", "Standardize" and "Sustain". The list describes how to organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order. The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardization, which builds understanding among employees of how they should do the work.

In some quarters, 5S has become 6S, the sixth element being safety.Other than a specific stand-alone methodology, 5S is frequently viewed as an element of a broader construct known as visual control, visual workplace, or visual factory. Under those (and similar) terminologies, Western companies were applying underlying concepts of 5S before publication, in English, of the formal 5S methodology. For example, a workplace-organization photo from Tennant Company (a Minneapolis-based manufacturer) quite similar to the one accompanying this article appeared in a manufacturing-management book in 1986.

Academic Ranking of World Universities

Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as Shanghai Ranking, is one of the annual publications of world university rankings. The league table was originally compiled and issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2003, making it the first global university ranking with multifarious indicators.Since 2009, ARWU has been published and copyrighted annually by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, an independent organization focusing on higher education. In 2011, a board of international advisory consisting of scholars and policy researchers was established to provide suggestions. The publication currently includes global league tables for institutions and a whole and for a selection of individual subjects, alongside independent regional Greater China Ranking and Macedonian HEIs Ranking.

ARWU is regarded as one of the three most influential and widely observed university rankings, alongside QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It is often praised for the objectivity, stability and transparency of its methodology, but draws some criticism as it does not adequately adjust for the size of the institution, and thus larger institutions would tend to rank above smaller ones.

Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System

The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification System is a drug classification system that classifies the active ingredients of drugs according to the organ or system on which they act and their therapeutic, pharmacological and chemical properties. It is controlled by the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology (WHOCC), and was first published in 1976.This pharmaceutical coding system divides drugs into different groups according to the organ or system on which they act, their therapeutic intent or nature, and the drug's chemical characteristics. Different brands share the same code if they have the same active substance and indications. Each bottom-level ATC code stands for a pharmaceutically used substance, or a combination of substances, in a single indication (or use). This means that one drug can have more than one code, for example acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) has A01AD05 (WHO) as a drug for local oral treatment, B01AC06 (WHO) as a platelet inhibitor, and N02BA01 (WHO) as an analgesic and antipyretic; as well as one code can represent more than one active ingredient, for example C09BB04 (WHO) is the combination of perindopril with amlodipine, two active ingredients that have their own codes (C09AA04 (WHO) and C08CA01 (WHO) respectively) when prescribed alone.

The ATC classification system is a strict hierarchy, meaning that each code necessarily has one and only one parent code, except for the 14 codes at the topmost level which have no parents. The codes are semantic identifiers, meaning they depict in themselves the complete lineage of parenthood.

Cartesian doubt

Cartesian Doubt is a form of methodological skepticism associated with the writings and methodology of René Descartes (March 31,1596–Feb 11, 1650). Cartesian doubt is also known as Cartesian skepticism, methodic doubt, methodological skepticism, universal doubt, systematic doubt or hyperbolic doubt.

Cartesian doubt is a systematic process of being skeptical about (or doubting) the truth of one's beliefs, which has become a characteristic method in philosophy. Additionally, Descartes's method has been seen by many as the root of the modern scientific method. This method of doubt was largely popularized in Western philosophy by René Descartes, who sought to doubt the truth of all his beliefs in order to determine which beliefs he could be certain were true. It is the basis for Descartes' statement, "Cogito ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am"). Of course, Descartes never actually wrote "cogito ergo sum,' instead, he wrote in his native French, "Je pense, donc je suis."

Methodological skepticism is distinguished from philosophical skepticism in that methodological skepticism is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims, whereas philosophical skepticism is an approach that questions the possibility of certain knowledge.

Data collection

Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on targeted variables in an established system, which then enables one to answer relevant questions and evaluate outcomes. Data collection is a component of research in all fields of study including physical and social sciences, humanities, and business. While methods vary by discipline, the emphasis on ensuring accurate and honest collection remains the same. The goal for all data collection is to capture quality evidence that allows analysis to lead to the formulation of convincing and credible answers to the questions that have been posed.

Economic methodology

Economic methodology is the study of methods, especially the scientific method, in relation to economics, including principles underlying economic reasoning. In contemporary English, 'methodology' may reference theoretical or systematic aspects of a method (or several methods). Philosophy and economics also takes up methodology at the intersection of the two subjects.

Fortune 500

The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years. The list includes publicly held companies, along with privately held companies for which revenues are publicly available. The concept of the Fortune 500 was created by Edgar P. Smith, a Fortune editor, and the first list was published in 1955. The Fortune 500 is more commonly used than its subset Fortune 100 or superset Fortune 1000.

ISO 13584

The official title of ISO 13584 is Industrial automation systems and integration - Parts library, with the acronym PLIB. PLIB is developed and maintained by the ISO technical committee TC 184, Technical Industrial automation systems and integration, sub-committee SC4 Industrial data. See also ISO 10303.

PLIB consists of these parts:

ISO 13584-1, Overview and fundamental principles: Overview and fundamental principles

Logical resources

ISO 13584-20, Logical model of expressions

ISO 13584-24, Logical model of a supplier library

ISO 13584-25, Logical model of supplier library with aggregate values and explicit content

ISO 13584-26, Information supplier identification

Implementation resources

ISO 13584-31, Geometric programming interface. This part defines a Fortran API for the creation of product geometry. It is derived from the German VDA API DIN 66304

ISO 13584-32, Implementation resources: OntoML: Ontology Markup Language. This part specifies an XML based exchange structure of ISO 13584-25 compliant data. It provides for exchanging: (1) ontologies/reference dictionaries compliant with the common ISO13584/IEC61360 dictionary model, and (2) libraries of product compliant with ISO13584-25.

ISO 13584-35, Implementation resources: Spreadsheet interface for parts library. This part specifies a spreadsheet based exchange structure of ISO 13584-25 compliant data.

Description methodology

ISO 13584-42, Methodology for structuring part families

Others

ISO 13584-101, Geometrical view exchange protocol by parametric program

ISO 13584-102, View exchange protocol by ISO 10303 conforming specification

ISO 13584-501, Reference dictionary for measuring instruments -- Registration procedure

ISO 13584-511, Mechanical systems and components for general use -- Reference dictionary for fastenersPLIB and IEC 61360 Component Data Dictionary are using the same datamodel.

List of psychological research methods

A wide range of research methods are used in psychology. These methods vary by the sources from which information is obtained, how that information is sampled, and the types of instruments that are used in data collection. Methods also vary by whether they collect qualitative data, quantitative data or both.

Qualitative psychological research is where the research findings are not arrived at by statistical or other quantitative procedures. Quantitative psychological research is where the research findings result from mathematical modeling and statistical estimation or statistical inference. Since qualitative information can be handled as such statistically, the distinction relates to method, rather than the topic studied.

There are three main types of psychological research:

Correlational research

Descriptive research

Experimental researchThe following are common research designs and data collection methods:

Archival research

Case study – Although case studies are often included in 'research methods' pages, they are actually not a single research method. Case study methodology involves using a body of different research methods (e.g. interview, observation, self-report questionnaire). Researchers interpret what the data together mean for the area of study. So, case studies are a methodology, not a method.

Computer simulation (modeling)

Content analysis

Event sampling methodology, also referred to as experience sampling methodology (ESM), diary study, or ecological momentary assessment (EMA)

Experiment, often with separate treatment and control groups (see scientific control and design of experiments). See Experimental psychology for many details.

Field experiment

Interview, can be structured or unstructured.

Meta-analysis

Neuroimaging and other psychophysiological methods

Observational study, can be naturalistic (see natural experiment), participant or controlled.

Quasi-experiment

Self-report inventory

Survey, often with a random sample (see survey sampling)

Twin studyResearch designs vary according to the period(s) of time over which data are collected:

Retrospective cohort study: Subjects are chosen, then data are collected on their past experiences.

Prospective cohort study: Subjects are recruited prior to the proposed independent effects being administered or occurring.

Cross-sectional study, in which a population are sampled on all proposed measures at one point in time.

Longitudinal study: Subjects are studied at multiple time points: May address the cohort effect and indicate causal directions of effects.Research in psychology has been conducted with both animals and human subjects:

Animal study

Human subject research

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995, and Loral Federal Systems in 1996. It is headquartered in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington, DC, area. Lockheed Martin employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide as of December 2017.Lockheed Martin is one of the largest companies in the aerospace, defense, security, and technologies industry. It is the world's largest defense contractor based on revenue for fiscal year 2014. In 2013, 78% of Lockheed Martin's revenues came from military sales; it topped the list of US federal government contractors and received nearly 10% of the funds paid out by the Pentagon. In 2009 US government contracts accounted for $38.4 billion (85%), foreign government contracts $5.8 billion (13%), and commercial and other contracts for $900 million (2%).Lockheed Martin operates in four business segments: Aeronautics, Missiles and Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems, and Space Systems. The company has received the Collier Trophy six times, including in 2001 for being part of developing the X-35/F-35B LiftFan Propulsion System, and most recently in 2006 for leading the team that developed the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Lockheed Martin is currently developing the F-35 Lightning II and leads the international supply chain, leads the team for the development and implementation of technology solutions for the new USAF Space Fence (AFSSS replacement), and is the primary contractor for the development of the Orion command module. The company also invests in healthcare systems, renewable energy systems, intelligent energy distribution and compact nuclear fusion.

Organic synthesis

Organic synthesis is a special branch of chemical synthesis and is concerned with the intentional construction of organic compounds. Organic molecules are often more complex than inorganic compounds, and their synthesis has developed into one of the most important branches of organic chemistry. There are several main areas of research within the general area of organic synthesis: total synthesis, semisynthesis, and methodology.

Scientific method

The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.Though diverse models for the scientific method are available, there is in general a continuous process that includes observations about the natural world. People are naturally inquisitive, so they often come up with questions about things they see or hear, and they often develop ideas or hypotheses about why things are the way they are. The best hypotheses lead to predictions that can be tested in various ways. The most conclusive testing of hypotheses comes from reasoning based on carefully controlled experimental data. Depending on how well additional tests match the predictions, the original hypothesis may require refinement, alteration, expansion or even rejection. If a particular hypothesis becomes very well supported, a general theory may be developed.Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, they are frequently the same from one to another. The process of the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions. A hypothesis is a conjecture, based on knowledge obtained while seeking answers to the question. The hypothesis might be very specific, or it might be broad. Scientists then test hypotheses by conducting experiments or studies. A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, implying that it is possible to identify a possible outcome of an experiment or observation that conflicts with predictions deduced from the hypothesis; otherwise, the hypothesis cannot be meaningfully tested.The purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations agree with or conflict with the predictions derived from a hypothesis. Experiments can take place anywhere from a garage to CERN's Large Hadron Collider. There are difficulties in a formulaic statement of method, however. Though the scientific method is often presented as a fixed sequence of steps, it represents rather a set of general principles.

Not all steps take place in every scientific inquiry (nor to the same degree), and they are not always in the same order. Some philosophers and scientists have argued that there is no scientific method; they include physicist Lee Smolin and philosopher Paul Feyerabend (in his Against Method). Robert Nola and Howard Sankey remark that "For some, the whole idea of a theory of scientific method is yester-year's debate, the continuation of which can be summed up as yet more of the proverbial deceased equine castigation. We beg to differ."

Scrum (software development)

Scrum is an agile framework for managing knowledge work, with an emphasis on software development, although it has wide application in other fields and is slowly starting to be explored by traditional project teams more generally. It is designed for teams of three to nine members, who break their work into actions that can be completed within timeboxed iterations, called sprints, no longer than one month and most commonly two weeks, then track progress and re-plan in 15-minute time-boxed stand-up meetings, called daily scrums.Approaches to coordinating the work of multiple scrum teams in larger organizations include large-scale scrum (LeSS), scaled agile framework (SAFe), scrum of scrums, and Scrum@Scale, the Nexus, among others.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma (6σ) is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. Though as a shortened form it may be found written as 6S, it should not be confused with the methodology known as 6S (5S + Safety).

Six Sigma was introduced by engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1980. Jack Welch made it central to his business strategy at General Electric in 1995. A six sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of all opportunities to produce some feature of a part are statistically expected to be free of defects.

Six Sigma strategies seek to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has specific value targets, for example: reduce process cycle time, reduce pollution, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase profits.

The term Six Sigma (capitalized because it was written that way when registered as a Motorola trademark on December 28, 1993) originated from terminology associated with statistical modeling of manufacturing processes. The maturity of a manufacturing process can be described by a sigma rating indicating its yield or the percentage of defect-free products it creates—specifically, within how many standard deviations of a normal distribution the fraction of defect-free outcomes corresponds to. Motorola set a goal of "six sigma" for all of its manufacturing.

Software development process

In software engineering, a software development process is the process of dividing software development work into distinct phases to improve design, product management, and project management. It is also known as a software development life cycle. The methodology may include the pre-definition of specific deliverables and artifacts that are created and completed by a project team to develop or maintain an application.Most modern development processes can be vaguely described as agile. Other methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, iterative and incremental development, spiral development, rapid application development, and extreme programming.

Some people consider a life-cycle "model" a more general term for a category of methodologies and a software development "process" a more specific term to refer to a specific process chosen by a specific organization. For example, there are many specific software development processes that fit the spiral life-cycle model. The field is often considered a subset of the systems development life cycle.

Statistics

Statistics is a branch of mathematics working with data collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation. In applying statistics to, for example, a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model process to be studied. Populations can be diverse topics such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with every aspect of data, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments.

See glossary of probability and statistics.

When census data cannot be collected, statisticians collect data by developing specific experiment designs and survey samples. Representative sampling assures that inferences and conclusions can reasonably extend from the sample to the population as a whole. An experimental study involves taking measurements of the system under study, manipulating the system, and then taking additional measurements using the same procedure to determine if the manipulation has modified the values of the measurements. In contrast, an observational study does not involve experimental manipulation.

Two main statistical methods are used in data analysis: descriptive statistics, which summarize data from a sample using indexes such as the mean or standard deviation, and inferential statistics, which draw conclusions from data that are subject to random variation (e.g., observational errors, sampling variation). Descriptive statistics are most often concerned with two sets of properties of a distribution (sample or population): central tendency (or location) seeks to characterize the distribution's central or typical value, while dispersion (or variability) characterizes the extent to which members of the distribution depart from its center and each other. Inferences on mathematical statistics are made under the framework of probability theory, which deals with the analysis of random phenomena.

A standard statistical procedure involves the test of the relationship between two statistical data sets, or a data set and synthetic data drawn from an idealized model. A hypothesis is proposed for the statistical relationship between the two data sets, and this is compared as an alternative to an idealized null hypothesis of no relationship between two data sets. Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis is done using statistical tests that quantify the sense in which the null can be proven false, given the data that are used in the test. Working from a null hypothesis, two basic forms of error are recognized: Type I errors (null hypothesis is falsely rejected giving a "false positive") and Type II errors (null hypothesis fails to be rejected and an actual difference between populations is missed giving a "false negative"). Multiple problems have come to be associated with this framework: ranging from obtaining a sufficient sample size to specifying an adequate null hypothesis.Measurement processes that generate statistical data are also subject to error. Many of these errors are classified as random (noise) or systematic (bias), but other types of errors (e.g., blunder, such as when an analyst reports incorrect units) can also be important. The presence of missing data or censoring may result in biased estimates and specific techniques have been developed to address these problems.

Statistics can be said to have begun in ancient civilization, going back at least to the 5th century BC, but it was not until the 18th century that it started to draw more heavily from calculus and probability theory. In more recent years statistics has relied more on statistical software to produce tests such as descriptive analysis.

Survey methodology

A field of applied statistics of human research surveys, survey methodology studies the sampling of individual units from a population and associated techniques of survey data collection, such as questionnaire construction and methods for improving the number and accuracy of responses to surveys. Survey methodology includes instruments or procedures that ask one or more questions that may or may not be answered.

Researchers carry out statistical surveys with a view towards making statistical inferences about the population being studied, and such inferences depend strongly on the survey questions used. Polls about public opinion, public-health surveys, market-research surveys, government surveys and censuses are all examples of quantitative research that use survey methodology to answer questions about a population. Although censuses do not include a "sample", they do include other aspects of survey methodology, like questionnaires, interviewers, and non-response follow-up techniques. Surveys provide important information for all kinds of public-information and research fields, e.g., marketing research, psychology, health-care provision and sociology.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. The publisher had collaborated with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) to publish the joint THE–QS World University Rankings from 2004 to 2009 before it turned to Thomson Reuters for a new ranking system. The publication now comprises the world's overall, subject, and reputation rankings, alongside three regional league tables, Asia, Latin America, and BRICS & Emerging Economies which are generated by different weightings.

THE Rankings is often considered as one of the most widely observed university rankings together with Academic Ranking of World Universities and QS World University Rankings. It is praised for having a new, improved ranking methodology since 2010; however, undermining of non-science and non-English instructing institutions and relying on subjective reputation survey are among the criticism and concerns.

Waterfall model

The waterfall model is a relatively linear sequential design approach for certain areas of engineering design. In software development, it tends to be among the less iterative and flexible approaches, as progress flows in largely one direction ("downwards" like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment and maintenance.

The waterfall development model originated in the manufacturing and construction industries; where the highly structured physical environments meant that design changes became prohibitively expensive much sooner in the development process. When first adopted for software development, there were no recognized alternatives for knowledge-based creative work.

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