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We examine the American landscape of higher education quantitative research concerning how gender and sex demographic information is collected. We use a directed content analysis to examine the prevalence and operationalization of gender and sex among widely used higher education survey instruments. Our findings illuminate a seemingly haphazard approach to developing gender and sex demographic questions and a number of limitations related to gender and sex variables inherent in the surveys analyzed. We discuss misalignment of question/item stem and response options, formatting decisions that result in data collection and analysis opportunities and challenges, and recommendations for policy and practice.