Practice

Gender & Sex Research

CGSHE Gender and Sex in Methods and Measures Research Equity Toolkit addresses the pervasive erasure in research of people who are marginalized and minoritized on the basis of their genders and sexes. This includes intersex, trans, non-binary and Two-Spirit people, among others. Oftentimes, these communities are altogether ignored by researchers, or tacked onto existing research studies without carefully considering what inclusion means in terms of eligibility criteria, recruitment strategies, sample size requirements, stratification, survey design and a myriad of other steps in and elements of the research process.

In 2021, supported by a CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair in Gender-Transformative Sexual Health aimed at advancing more equitable gender and sexual health research and practice in Canada, CGSHE launched a process to develop a series of Research Equity Toolkits. These Toolkits will aim to create best practise guidelines for researchers—from trainees to senior scholars—on how to build more equitable, reflective and inclusive research on a range of topics from sex and gender in methods and measurement to decolonizing research.

Led by Dr. A.J. Lowik, CGSHE Gender Equity Advisor at UBC, the CGSHE Gender and Sex in Methods and Measurement Research Equity Toolkit includes nine learning tools that researchers can independently use at various stages of the design, data collection, analysis and writing process to ensure that their research is meaningfully inclusive of people who are marginalized and minoritized on the basis of gender and sex. The toolkit mobilizes sex and gender variables in ways that attend to the complexity of these concepts. Each tool includes questions that researchers should ask of themselves and their project, illustrative examples, and a list of relevant scholarly literature for additional learning. Each tool was developed with the input of a an advisory of experts who work to acknowledge gender and sexual diversity in research.

Best Practice Goals

CGSHE Gender & Sex in Methods & Measurement learning tools will encourage researchers to consider how to be intentional and deliberate with the inclusion of these communities into their research. Acknowledging that sex and gender are frequently conflated and confused in research, these practice guidelines will equip researchers with the skills to determine whether sex assignment at birth, legal sex, current embodiment and/or gender identity are the variables of interest for their project. These tools will also explore the limits of each variable and how to ask participants for this information in ways that balance exhaustive inclusivity with data utility.