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Comparing Select-One Versus Select-All-That-Apply Response Options in a Two-Step gender Identity Question

Victoria R Narine, Robin Kaplan, and Rebecca L Morrison


Measuring sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations in Federal surveys improves understanding of these populations and can inform policy makers on disparities between those who identify as gender minorities and those who do not. Current understandings of SGM populations are dynamic and requires survey methodologists and statisticians to adapt to social shifts by maintaining an ongoing research agenda. To contribute to the expanding literature on the measurement of gender identity, these experiments explore (1) the potential effects of select-one versus select-all-that-apply response formats in a two-step gender identity series, where respondents are asked for their sex assigned at birth in one question, then their current gender identity in a separate question, and (2) the effects of the presence of a write-in box. Participants were recruited from a non-probability online panel and completed a self-response survey in Qualtrics (n=1362). In a 2 x 2 (Response Format x Presence of Write-In) factorial design, participants were randomly assigned to either the select-one or select-all-that-apply condition, and either the write-in present or no write-in present condition. Results suggest that neither response format nor the presence of a write-in box affect response distributions in a mostly cis-gender sample. However, future research should intentionally recruit gender minorities to better understand their question response behaviors. Implications, recommendations, and future research are discussed.