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The evolution of the questionnaire in German sexual science: A methodological narrative

journal contribution
posted on 2021-03-05, 01:05 authored by Douglas PretsellDouglas Pretsell
© The Author(s) 2019.
The sexological research questionnaire, which became a central research tool in twentieth-century sexology, has a methodological-developmental history stretching back into mid-nineteenth century Germany. It was the product of a prolonged, disruptive encounter between sexual scientists constructing sexual case studies along with newly assertive homosexual men supplying self-penned sexual autobiographies. Homosexual autobiographies were intensely interesting to these men of science but lacked the brevity, structure, and discipline of a formal clinical case study. In the closing decades of the century, efforts to harness and regularize this self-penned material resulted in a series of methodological adaptations. By the turn of the century this process had resulted in the first use of a formal sexual research questionnaire.


The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded through a Commonwealth Australian Federal Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship (La Trobe University Research Grant, 2018), a grant from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Internal Research Grant Scheme (IRGS), and a La Trobe University Social Research Platform Grant.


Publication Date



History of Science





Article Number

ARTN 0073275319881014


24p. (p. 326-349)





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