This paper will outline how ethnographic research and phenomenological research can be regarded as different; the paper will also focus on how these forms of research can be regarded as similar.
One of the main differences is that phenomenological research aims at having a full understanding of a certain phenomenon. In order to accomplish this, the researcher conducts intensive interviews that tend to be quite long. On the contrary, the goal of ethnographic research includes a description as well as interpretation of a certain social or cultural group (Madden, 2010). In phenomenology, there is no detailed explanation of a certain social phenomenon under study. This is contrary to ethnographic research where the researchers engage in a detailed description of the phenomenon under study. In phenomenology, the main emphasis of the researcher may include individuals; in ethnographic research, the main emphasis is usually groups (Moustakas, 1999).
In phenomenological research, the collection of data takes place through interviews that are personal, unstructured or semi structured, and in-depth. The interviews take long to complete, and the researcher may spend too much time with the subjects that he or she studies (Moustakas, 1999). On the other hand, in ethnographic research, the collection of data takes place through analysis of the artifacts and documents that a certain culture has used over time. Data in ethnographic research can also be obtained through interactions with members of the group. Data can also be obtained by observing a culture for a prolonged period, which may be weeks, months, or even years (Madden, 2010). One of the major similarities between ethnographic research and phenomenological research is that both forms of research aim at understanding the phenomenon from the insider’s point of view. In addition, the information collected while conducting both forms of research comes from the interviewee. As such, the researcher cannot change the information collected, and they should report what the respondent told them (VanKatwyk, 2003).