Studying Sex and Gender

Five research methods used to study sex and gender

There are several research methods used to study different phenomena and variation is important in establishing accurate results (Willliams, n.d.). Therefore, the following are five different research methods used to examine sex and gender in the contemporary world:

  • Case Study
  • Naturalistic Observation
  • Interview
  • Survey
  • Experimental

In the case study, a researcher employs a qualitative approach in which a specific number of subjects is selected for study and uses main interviews. It is the commonly used method of research because of its direct and realistic approaches and lived experiences. It is mainly carried out among a limited number of people. On the other hand, Naturalistic Observation involves the use of eyes by the researcher in watching the behavioral patterns of the phenomena under study in a typically natural environment. In the study of gender and sex, naturalistic observation provides the external validity, because it depends on what is rightly visible for investigation.

Interviews are another diversely used method of research in the study of gender and sex. They are diverse and they could be structured interviews, standardized, semi-standardized or un-standardized interviews.

Survey is another crucial method mainly quantitative and in this case, the researcher uses questionnaire to collect information from a large sample of individuals for analysis and representation . On the other hand, the Experimental method is the complex process through which the research uses controlled measures among the subjects to establish research results.

Advantages of Each Method

Each of the highlighted method has its benefits that make it unique from the rest. For instance the case study provides much detail in the study and the real-time experiences of the people under study. Similarly, the Naturalistic observation provides a real-time experience and external validity in the study of gender and sex, hence provides the researcher to establish what is more important by use of eyes and comprehension.

Interviews are more in-depth, there is a possibility of high response rates because of its engaging nature, there is room for follow-ups and provides good grounds for accurate results. Surveys on the other hand provide ability for representation of large samples, and are more convenient, there is low researcher bias and they provide precise results. Lastly, the Experimental method provides good internal validity and the experiments could be replicated to establish the validity of the results.

Disadvantages of Each Method

Starting with Case Study, the limited number of individuals under study makes it difficult for generalization and prioritizes theoretical developments to experience. The Naturalistic method on the other hand cannot grant internal validity and there is high possibility of the researcher bias. The interview method is more costly in terms of resources and time as well as the bias from the researcher.

Surveys as a method of research in the study of gender and sex are also prone to response bias because of the large responses expected and sometimes when misleading questions in a questionnaire may lead to false feedback (Sincero, n.d.). Lastly, the Experimental method is limited because it cannot assign sex at random and also, it cannot establish the biological sex from the natural known social differences between a man and a woman.


Sincero, S. M. (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Surveys. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from Explorable:

Willliams, C. (n.d.). Research Methods. Journal of Business & Economic Research , 65-72.