Examining ethnographic research, it is characterized by participant and nonparticipant observation, focus on natural settings, use of participant constructs to structure the research, and investigator avoidance of purposive manipulation of study variables. For credibility, the canons of validity and reliability have to be addressed when ethnographic methods of research are used. In ethnographic research, reliability depends on the resolution of both internal and external design problems. External reliability tackles the issue of whether independent researchers would discover similar phenomena or generate the same construct in similar settings. Internal reliability addresses the degree to which other researchers, given a set of previously generated constructs, would match with data in the same way as did the original researcher. This is usually referred to as test-retest reliability. Therefore, reliability addresses the replicability of the research findings. On the other hand, validity is concerned with the accuracy of research findings, and it requires the determination of the degree to which the conclusions are effective in representing the empirical reality. Internal validity refers to the degree to which scientific measurements and observations are authentic representations of some reality. External validity refers to the extent to which such representations can be legitimately compared across groups.
In ethnographic research, the results of the research findings are often regarded as unreliable and lacking in validity and generalizability, (Le Compte 35). This is because reliability demands that a researcher use the same methods to obtain the same findings as those of an earlier study. This creates a problem for researchers who study unique phenomena or naturalistic behavior. Therefore, establishing reliability in ethnographic design is complicated by the nature of the research process and data, by