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Marginalization in Measurement: Intersectionality, Identity, and Survey Research Design

Case
By: Royal G. Cravens III Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Political Science and International Relations
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Abstract

This case study is based on the research project I undertook for my PhD dissertation. The goal of the project was to quantitatively analyze the effects of socially constructed identities on the political attitudes and behavior of sexual minorities in the United States. Achieving this goal necessitated the collection of individual-level data about the identity and political experiences of sexual minorities. This case study focuses on the construction of an online survey instrument and its administration to a representative sample of more than 1,200 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States. The incorporation of intersectional theory into the research design allowed me to robustly measure heterogeneity within a group often considered politically and behaviorally homogeneous. My experience highlights the difficulties of LGBT survey research, the complexity of quantitative intersectional analysis, and the imperative of survey researchers to justify the use of categorical indicators in survey instruments to prevent the continued marginalization of intersectional identities in survey research.

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