Ethnography Research Vs Phenomenological Research – Compare And Contrast Essay


            The comparison and contrast between phenomenological and ethnographic study research are numerous. For instance phenomenological study research seeks to understand perspective of the participants, lived experiences and the subjective. This kind of research is described as individualistic and enables the researchers to collect information about individuals’ unique experience(Goulding, 2004). In the other hand, ethnographic research seeks to understand the collectivistic experiences within a certain culture. Normally, ethnographic research is performed through a process of observation where a group of people are observed over an extended period of time, while documenting and interpreting their procession. This paper seeks to compare and contrast ethnography research to phenomenological study research.

Research design

            In the case of ethnography, the researcher uses observation method to seek to understand common and shared experiences specific to a population within a culture over an extend period of time. The research is design to allow the researcher to live in the midst of the culture in order to immensely observe the environment under study(Goulding, 2004). The observers should not abandon and lose their sociological and marble inquiry by getting assimilated into the culture. In contrast, phenomenological research is founded on the view that there are numerous means of interpreting the same experience. This is how an individual perceives events in the surrounding, notwithstanding how biased their perception may be, that is their reality.

Research problem

            When the study research is conducted using ethnography, the research problem is formulated in two different ways. The foreshadowed problem is the first approach where a researcher provide a general framework to start research using why, how or how questions(Goulding, 2004). The research problem must indicate the participants of the study and following what setting. The second approach involves asking specific question arising from a connectedness between the problem and the data.

In the case of phenomenological study research, the questions emphasize on understanding the meaning of individuals experiences and the roles of the researcher in the process. These questions focuses on descriptive aspects of the research, similar to ethnographic questions, they do not reflect researchers bias. Also, phenomenological questions provide a clear indication of who participants are and in what context.

Selection of participants

Ethnographic uses purposeful sampling technique to select the participants based on the extensive experience about the specific topic. The participants can be selected through sampling by case, snowballing and maximum variations(Goulding, 2004). Phenomenological research select the participant who have lived and currently living in the culture under study. It is important for the researcher to determine the willingness of the participant to share the experience and discuss them in a purposeful way.

Data collection

            Ethnographic research collect data through observation method by establishing a continuous and long-term relationship with the participants. Also, interviews are the most commonly used data collection tool in the ethnographic research since it provides the participants the opportunity to express their opinion and provide any necessary clarity(Goulding, 2004). Phenomenological research mostly relies on the one on one interviewing. Similar to ethnographic, the researcher is required to develop a positive rapport with the participants in order to provide in-depth feedback.

Data analysis

            Ethnographic research follows three stages of data analysis. The first process is coding the information, the second stage is summarization of the coded data and lastly is pattern seeking and synthesizing identifies in order to ascertain relationships(Goulding, 2004). In the other hand, phenomenological research perform data analysis starting with the experience of the researcher on the subject matter. The researcher must provide direct quotes from the participants in order to support their sentiments.

The ethnographic research is practical for a large study because the researcher is required to observe a population within a culture, while phenomenological research is practical for small study.

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