what is the differences between approach and methodology

i want the answer to that question with Example, let say for I.T testing

what is the differences between approach and methodology?
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Peter HartCommented:
hmm  well symantics -
 looking at the attached definitions I would say "approach" is an un-formalised way of dealing with a problem whereas a "methodology"  is formalised and written down approach to deal with a problem.
which can be improved and measured sinced its documented.
I've attached Googles defines to aid the discussion.
Definitions of approach on the Web:
ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation; "his approach to every problem is to draw up a list of pros and cons"; "an attack ...
the act of drawing spatially closer to something; "the hunter's approach scattered the geese" 
access: a way of entering or leaving; "he took a wrong turn on the access to the bridge" 
approach path: the final path followed by an aircraft as it is landing 
move towards; "We were approaching our destination"; "They are drawing near"; "The enemy army came nearer and nearer" 
the event of one object coming closer to another 
border on: come near or verge on, resemble, come nearer in quality, or character; "This borders on discrimination!"; "His playing approaches that of Horowitz" 
overture: a tentative suggestion designed to elicit the reactions of others; "she rejected his advances" 
set about: begin to deal with; "approach a task"; "go about a difficult problem"; "approach a new project" 
the temporal property of becoming nearer in time; "the approach of winter" 
come near in time; "Winter is approaching"; "approaching old age" 
Definitions of methodology on the Web:
the branch of philosophy that analyzes the principles and procedures of inquiry in a particular discipline 
the system of methods followed in a particular discipline 
Methodology can be defined as: # "the analysis of the principles of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline"; # "the systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline"; or # "a particular procedure or set of procedures. ...
A software development process is a structure imposed on the development of a software product. Synonyms include software life cycle and software process. There are several models for such processes, each describing approaches to a variety of tasks or activities that take place during the process.
A collection of methods, practices, procedures and rules used by those who work in some field; The study of such methods etc; The implementation of such methods etc
methodological - relating to the methodology of some discipline; "methodological errors" 
methodological - Of, pertaining to, or using methodology
The way in which information is found or something is done. The methodology includes the methods, procedures, and techniques used to collect and analyze information.
A system of principles, practices, and procedures applied to a specific branch of knowledge.
methodological - The objective study of third-person behavior; the data of psychology must be inter-subjectively verifiable; no theoretical prescriptions. ...
the precise design of a study, including the methods used

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fahadmanAuthor Commented:
thanks chilternPC,
i agree with u, this is almost the right thing to say about the two definition. so when we say waterfall, do we use methodology or we can say approach, so which one is correct:
1- waterfall model
2-waterfall approach
3-waterfall methodology
In my experience and use, approach and methodology are like instance and class.

A methodology is like a standard that can be referenced by many work efforts.  It stands alone.

An approach is specific to a particular initiative.  It may derive from a methodology, but it probably has some customizations that support just this current project.

"Lessons learned" from the approach may inform improvement opportunities in the methodology, or they may come up only again when another project comes along with similar conditions.
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A model is like a methodology in the sense that it is a reference.

But I think they differ in that a model is very abstract, whereas a methodology should be specific enough to tell you how to do something - i.e. what is the method.

For example, a waterfall "model" is abstract and just says you develop something in discrete phases starting with planning, then requirements, then design, then construction, then test, then deployment; one phase does not start before the previous concludes.

This is very high level and doesn't really tell you "how" to do anything.

However, a waterfall "methodology" would discuss each phase in more detail, listing the specific roles and responsibility, the work outputs, and dependencies between inputs, outputs, and activities.  A methodology would probably include quality standards for what kind of controls need to be in place and where.

And then a waterfall "approach" would customize the methodology for a particular project.  Maybe certain roles are being combined for some reason, or outputs replaced by different ones, or maybe some are optional altogether, and the project doesn't need some of the optional ones.  The approach will record these decisions into a specific plan.

A model helps you grasp a general concept - a methodology actually helps you "do" something within that concept.
Sorry  I missed the part with a testing example.

Okay, so a testing methodology may state that projects, in general, do functional, regression, performance, and acceptance testing during the system-level testing phase.  The methodology explains the work products needed for each of these types of testing, and what roles perform them, and what those specific responsibilities are.  For example, regression testing may need to have the test lead create a change matrix tied to test cases so that regression coverage may be reviewed by the team.

Now, a testing approach (or sometimes called a test strategy) for a particular project may specify that performance testing is not required - maybe it is too impractical to replicate the production environment.  These decisions about what in the methodology will be followed and what will not need to be specifically documented with an acceptable rationale.
Ok, I also give you some light on your second question. As far as I see, the first question already answered.

Some refer water fall as approach while other refer as a methodology.

To me, actually waterfall is a model.
Water fall approach or water fall methodology is the process involved in creation of software. This process will be approach or methodology depends on how you deal during the waterfall model.

Ie: the "processes" that you are navigating through Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design (validation), Construction, Testing to maintenance will be simply an approach or methodology.

Water fall, by the name itself you see once you've completed a phase, its results are frozen and until the results of the current phase are complete you cant start on any work that belongs to the next or later phase. This is the basic idea behind the waterfall model (though it has many variations)

Having said that you may see, that in order to follow the water flow model that you need to treat it as a methodology than approach, which may rephrase as waterfall methodology.

Hope this helps.
Peter HartCommented:
its a shame that people can spend a lot of time (and resource)  worrying over terms such as methodlogy vs approach vs model vs process.  
one mans process is another mans methodology.  for the QA people out there they should be happy if the approach/model/process can be measured. (therefore can be improved).

I like the term 'Process' myself, I think 'model' and 'methodology' terms are really  abstract or theoretical set of concepts that have to be tailored to a particular problem and turned into real steps (i.e. like the earlier comment of 'class' and 'instance of a class' ) and has to be turned into a process  to be of any use.

I am in QA by profession, and I know that value in understanding terminology.  QA isn't just about measurement.  And you can't reliably measure what you haven't defined.

For example, I was refining a one-page diagram/clarification of root cause, mistake, fault, failure, error, and defect just last week.

Why does it matter?  Well even if you go back to measurement, if I need to calculate a defect metric, what is a defect?  The answer is not as obvious as it seems, and without it the numbers have no integrity...
Well ,  as a QA professional, I also agreed with cdbosh. But really we don't want to make any argument here for model/process/approach/methodology.

These words has unique meaning and value when it comes to the software development (especially in QA)
And i agree with what chilternPC has mentioned, people may see a single thing in different  views depends on their own angle, but it doesn't make any difference to the meaning / value of these terms.

The most important thing to me is having a clear idea about these terms while on working :)
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