Prolific's participant question on sex/gender

I see that when asking participants to fill out their demographic profile, they are asked the question:

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?
And the only options are Male and Female.

This doesn’t sit well with me because it’s not very inclusive. Not everyone who was born one gender currently identifies as that gender. Further, people may also identify as non-binary, and therefore cannot accurately answer this question. Can the wording of this question please be rewritten?

For a guide on asking about gender in an inclusive manner, I would encourage researchers to read through parts of this document: HCI Gender Guidelines - Morgan Klaus Scheuerman

For example, it provides the following advice:

Guideline G-4: For surveys with a large sample size (i.e., not reasonable to manually code), a good survey instrument (suitable for most Western contexts) includes the following gender options: woman, man, non-binary, prefer not to disclose, prefer to self-describe: ______. Surveys should allow participants to choose multiple options (e.g., some people are both woman and non-binary).

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Hey @Adam_Goodkind , thank you for the interesting post!

If I may jump in, I think there’s already been quite an effort to make questions inclusive. The point is that there are many different questions regarding sex and gender identity, and it’s up to the researcher which one to use for their research.

Here is a list of screenshots of the questions/pre-screeners I think are relevant for the topic (apart from the one about the birth certificate that you’ve already mentioned and is referred to as “Sex”):

Do you think this list can be improved?
I’m sure the Prolific team will be happy to know if you have suggestions!

Oh shoot, I screwed up and didn’t see these options! Maybe it would be better if Gender was listed before Sex in the screeners?

Is there any way I can get the answers to one of these gender questions from a study I already did? It’s pretty important to my study.

Maybe yes. If you explain this to the Prolific Team, they may help you and provide the additional info.
Try submitting a request with this form:

Let me know if that works! :crossed_fingers:


If your support request does not go as planned…

If you asked the gender question in previous studies and the participants happened to have taken part in your previous studies then you could find their gender by searching for their Prolific IDs in those previous studies.

But unless you are targeting a very specific demographic, the chances of overlap are low.