F.A.Q.

As we collected responses to our original survey, we received lots of great, constructive feedback from participants—but there have been a few questions that come up often enough to warrant answers in one convenient list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have questions or comments that aren't covered here, please feel free to e-mail Allison. Also see our statement on terminology in the Queer in STEM 2.0 survey.

Who should take the survey?

We want to hear from folks who identify anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, and who are currently employed in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics career at any level—or who have been employed in STEM, but aren't any more. This includes folks who work in STEM but have never earned an undergraduate degree or other formal certification in their field.

In the new Queer in STEM 2.0 survey, we're also interested in hearing from STEM professionals who do not identify as LGBTQ. Their answers to key questions about education, research productivity, and career experiences will help us better understand the limitations of our participant recruitment approach, and provide important context for the responses of LGBTQ participants. They'll be, in effect, a "control sample."

We want to hear from folks working in both academic and non-academic jobs. Even within STEM, these can be quite different career tracks, and the online survey attempts to route participants to appropriate questions based on how they identify their current positions. However, to capture the full range of job activities involved in both career tracks, all versions of the survey include questions that may be counterintuitive to some — for instance, non-academics may be asked about their peer-reviewed publications, and academics may be asked about patent filings. Please answer all questions with the option that fits most closely (even if it's not as accurate as you'd like), select N/A, or choose to write-in an open-ended answer, as appropriate.

However, we're not looking for responses from undergraduate students. While studies of undergrads are important for understanding the queer experience, undergrads are (as a group) at a very different life and career stage from the ones that are the focus of the current study.

What are you going to do with my survey response?

Generally speaking, we hope the aggregate, anonymous results of this survey will help us improve our understanding of LGBTQ folks working in STEM, and how their identities as LGBTQ folks have shaped and interacted with their experiences in their chosen careers. The answers to this online questionnaire are only the first stage of our study—we're planning to follow it up with open-ended questions and one-on-one interviews with those participants who agree to give us more of their time.

More specifically, we'll report the results of the survey and the follow-up interviews on this very website, as well as in (we hope) reports in popular media and publications in appropriate scholarly journals. You can see some examples of that in media coverage of the first Queer in STEM survey, and in the first peer-reviewed paper analyzing responses to that survey.

I don't see my field of study in the list of options! You left it out!

Developing a compact list of fields of study was one of the hardest parts of writing our questionnaire. In the end, we did the best we could, but we've provided an option to write in something other than the choices provided precisely because we couldn't anticipate every flavor of scientific expertise out there. However, as we continue to collect responses, we're paying attention to what fields folks write in, and updating the list accordingly.

My experience is too complex to fit into your multiple-choice questions!

We're keenly aware that sexuality and its interaction with working life are more nuanced and complicated than any set of online, multiple-choice questions could accurately capture. That's why we'll be going beyond the online questionnaire with in-depth follow-up questions and interviews. We'd ask that you choose the multiple-choice options that best approximate your personal experience, use the options to write in more information, and then volunteer for a follow-up at the end of the questionnaire.

I'd like to cover the Queer in STEM study for my blog/ magazine/ newspaper/ podcast/ YouTube channel. What can I use from the study website, and how can I get in touch to ask more questions?

You should feel free to quote posts from our blog and the rest of this website (with links to the original, please!), and you can contact the collaborators with further questions—we'll be happy to see what we can do!