Similarities between ethnographic and phenomenological research methods
Both ethnographic and phenomenological methods are non-experimental, qualitative and descriptive (Osborne, 1994).
Data analysis and interpretation is done in a similar manner and can be very difficult since data has to be organized, transcribed, synthesized and coded. This process is often very tedious and time consuming (Osborne, 1994).
Differences between ethnographic and phenomenological research methods
In ethnographic research, the researcher seeks to understand and describe shared cultural and social experiences of a certain group. He/she will live among the culture under observation so as to fully understand the culture they are observing. Phenomenology involves research based on the fact that there are numerous ways to interpret one experience. Different people can perceive the same things differently (Osborne, 1994).
Participants in ethnographic research are chosen purposefully so as to give an in-depth understanding of the culture being studied while in phenomenological research; participants chosen are those who have lived the experience being researched and are willing to share and discuss these experiences (Osborne, 1994).
In ethnographic research, information is commonly obtained through observation continuous relationship with the members participating. Interviews are also conducted to provide necessary clarity. On the other hand phenomenological research involves one on one interviewing and it is of great importance to have a positive rapport with interviewees so as to get as much information as possible (Osborne, 1994).
Ethnographers use personal interpretation as they just observe and record notes while phenomenologists remain objective so as not to change the perspectives of the participants (Osborne, 1994).
Osborne, J. W. (1994). Some similarities and differences among phenomenological and other methods of psychological qualitative research. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 35(2), 167.