Focus Groups with Transgender & Nonbinary Adults: Lessons Learned from Pew Research Center


By: Anna Brown, Research Associate, Pew Research Center

Late last year, the Social and Demographic Trends team at Pew Research Center embarked on an ambitious study about gender identity and the experiences of transgender and nonbinary Americans. We conducted a series of online focus groups of trans and nonbinary adults in March 2022, followed by a survey of the general public in May.

The focus groups led to an essay detailing the experiences, challenges and hopes of trans and nonbinary adults in which most of the text was from the participants’ own words. They also led to an AAPOR presentation in Chicago this year in which we described the lessons we learned from conducting the focus groups. The quantitative data we gathered led to an estimate of the share of U.S. adults who are trans or nonbinary as well as a sweeping look at the landscape of public opinion about gender identity and transgender issues.

Among the lessons we learned from the focus groups:





We hope other researchers will learn from our study and apply these lessons to their qualitative work, whether it involves trans and nonbinary participants or other groups. If you’d like to learn more about this research, the focus group findings are publicly available, including details on the methodology we used. Thanks to our research partner PSB Insights, our moderators and experts that we consulted, and all of our participants for making this project a success.