In the philosophy of science, there are three terms which are used to describe three different related notions. In both Polish (pl) and German (de), these three terms are unique such that there is no risk of equivocation. Briefly:
- metoda (pl); Methode (de)
an ordered sequence of actions chosen to economically and efficiently achieve a desired end
- metodyka (pl); Methodik (de)
a set of methods chosen for the purpose of achieving a common end or related ends (e.g. the cluster of methods used in molecular biology)
- metodologia (pl); Methodologie (de)
the science whose proper objects of study are the previous two
In English, metoda is method, while both metodyka and metodologia are methodology. In English, we have the word methodic, but this is an adjective, and if I were to invent a word such as methodics or the noun form methodic, it would appear, given the Greek etymology of similar terms (concerning the -ikos ending, e.g. mathematikos, logikos, physikos) and the meanings of words with similar endings in English, that the word would suggest a field of study. Oddly enough, methodology, etymologically speaking, does concern a field of study and is thus the wrong word to describe the second term above.
Is anyone aware of an alternative that would work? If no such alternative exists, any ideas about what new word could be coined to better suit the intended meaning?
EDIT: If anyone is able to read Polish, here is a PDF with definitions supplied by Herbut.