Ethnomethodology and phenomenology are two distinct approaches to social research that have been utilized by scholars across various disciplines. While both approaches share some similarities in their focus on the subjective experiences of individuals, they differ in their theoretical underpinnings, research methods, and applications. In this article, we will explore the key differences between ethnomethodology and phenomenology.

Phenomenology

Phenomenology is a philosophical approach that emphasizes the study of human consciousness and subjective experience. It was developed by Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century as a response to traditional scientific methods that focused solely on objective reality. Phenomenologists believe that subjective experiences can provide valuable insights into the nature of reality and should be studied as such.

Theoretical Underpinnings: Phenomenology is based on the idea that individuals have unique subjective experiences which are shaped by their perceptions, emotions, and interpretations of the world around them.

Research Methods: Phenomenologists use various methods to explore subjective experiences including interviews, observations, and self-reflection. They aim to understand how people experience different phenomena such as emotions, relationships, or cultural practices.

Ethnomethodology

Ethnomethodology is a sociological approach that focuses on how individuals make sense of their social world and how they use everyday practices to create and maintain social order. It was developed by Harold Garfinkel in the mid-20th century as a critique of traditional sociological methods that focused on objective social structures.

Theoretical Underpinnings: Ethnomethodology is based on the idea that individuals actively create and maintain social order through their everyday interactions and practices. It emphasizes the importance of studying these practices to understand how people make sense of their social world.

Research Methods: Ethnomethodologists use various methods to explore how individuals use everyday practices to create and maintain social order. These methods include:

Differences between Phenomenology and Ethnomethodology

While both phenomenology and ethnomethodology focus on subjective experiences, they differ in several ways:

Conclusion

In conclusion, while both ethnomethodology and phenomenology focus on subjective experiences, they differ in their theoretical underpinnings, research methods, and applications. Understanding these differences can help researchers determine which approach is best suited for their research question. By utilizing these approaches effectively, researchers can gain valuable insights into the subjective experiences of individuals and the social world they inhabit.