Ethnography is a qualitative method of studying and learning about a person or group of people. Typically, ethnography involves the study of a small group of subjects in their own environment. To develop an understanding of what it is like to live in a setting, the researcher must both become a participant in the life of the setting while also maintaining the stance of an observer, someone who describes the experience. Rather than looking at a small set of variables and a large number of subjects ("the big picture"), the ethnographer attempts to get a detailed understanding of the circumstances of the few subjects being studied. Ethnographic accounts, then, are both descriptive and interpretive; descriptive, because detail is so crucial, and interpretive, because the ethnographer must determine the significance of what she observes without gathering broad, statistical information. The term ethnography may be loosely applied to any qualitative research project where the purpose is to provide a detailed, in-depth description. This is sometimes referred to as "thick description." The use of the term "qualitative" here is meant to distinguish this research from more "quantitative" or statistically oriented research. The two approaches, i.e., quantitative and qualitative, while often complimentary, ultimately have different aims.