21 November, 2013

How representative is our sample?

We're currently working on writing up the key results of the online survey for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, but something has come up in the course of writing that seems worthy of a small update here: the question of how well we've managed to sample LGBTQ-identified folks working in STEM.

Because there isn't any central listing of queer folks working in the sciences, we used a "snowball sampling" approach, via social media, asking survey participants to forward links to the survey site to their friends. This is a good way to find study participants from populations that aren't readily visible, but that do have strong social ties. However, it also means that the sample of participants we end up with may be limited by the breadth of the social networks we're able to tap.