The idea of ontology can be described as the beliefs about the nature of reality, which can also be asked as what is out there in the social world to know. Current debates within ontology include behaviorism versus culturalism, individualism versus emergentism, realism versus constructionism, and contextualism versus noncontectualism. Each of these debates greatly affect methodology because they decide how we interpret social reality and the nature of social reality.
Methodology, on the other hand, considers the logic behind selecting specific tools for data collection and analysis. There are many different types of methodologies on the neo-positivist and interpretivists scale: interviews, statistical analysis, and small-n case comparison. There is also the neo-positivism versus interpretivism debate within methodology. Within these debates, it is important to remember that methods have a “circular quality [that] guarantees an openness, a heuristic richness, to mutual methodological critiques”. Overall, both contribute to how we understand the social world and study it.
I do not think that a research can be an “objective observer” of the social world because despite best efforts, every researcher will inevitably have their own biases and preconceived notions about the social world. These opinions will form the researcher’s methodology when creating questions and a set of methods to explore the research question. Yet, in the midst of differing methods “we find ourselves in a labyrinth where any method can be found both superior and inferior to any other”. With different perspectives, the same research question can be explored in a variety of methods that create different conclusions. In the neo-positivists perspective there are generalizations, predictions, hypothesizes, measurements, and variables (XàY). On the other hand, the interpretivists perspective there is contextuality/ understanding, ambiguity and concepts, intertextuality, and no universal law. However, the research perceives social reality will determine their methodology.
Despite these distinctions, the important aspect to this discussion is critically analyzing if the research and methodology has internal validity. This is not a question of whether the reader agrees or disagrees with the perspective or methodology of the research, but rather analyzing the evidence within that methodology. Asking questions like does the evidence presented accurately capture the research question or does the method of research chosen for the particular question correctly analyze whatever they are attempting to capture are questions that should be asked to determine the internal validity of research.
The overall expanse of research can include social norms, causes and consequences, and even invisible structures and phenomena. A major piece of research is contributing to the already expansive collection of research completed on a particular concept, but from a different perspective or with a different methodology. For example, research to redefine words in a specific field does not include research about something tangible, but rather is research about the concepts and ideas themselves. Studying both the tangible and intangible are incredibly important for every field of study to have a universal set of ideas that is agreed upon by scholars in the field.
 Andrew Abbott. Methods of Discovery: Heuristics for the Social Sciences. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004), 42.
 Ibid, 75.
Andrew Abbott. Methods of Discovery: Heuristics for the Social Sciences. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.