What is Respondent Driven Sampling ?
combines "snowball sampling" with a mathematical model that weights the
to compensate for the fact that the sample was collected in a
non-random way. More.
Data Requirements for RDS Analysis
data requirements for RDS
analysis are minimal, there are three pieces of information which are
for analysis (RDS analysis CANNOT BE PERFORMED without these fields for
- Personal Network Size (Degree) - Number of people the
respondent knows within the target population.
- Respondent's Serial Number - Serial number of the coupon
the respondent was recruited with.
- Respondent's Recruiting Serial Numbers - Serial numbers
from the coupons the respondent is given to recruit others.
Core RDS References:
- Heckathorn, Douglas D. 1997."
Respondent-Driven Sampling: A New Approach to the Study of Hidden
Populations." Social Problems.
- The original article in which RDS was introduced
- Heckathorn, Douglas D. 2002."
Respondent-Driven Sampling II: Deriving Valid Population Estimates from
Chain-Referral Samples of Hidden Populations."
- Article extending the RDS method to include calculation
of standard errors and post-stratification to control for differences
in network size and clustering across groups
- Salganik, Matthew J. and Douglas D. Heckathorn. 2004." Sampling
and Estimation in Hidden Populations Using Respondent-Driven Sampling."
- Article showing through both analytic means and
simulations that the RDS population estimator is statistically unbiased
- Outstanding Article Publication Award of
the Mathematical Sociology Section of the American Sociological
- Heckathorn, Douglas D. 2007."
Extensions of Respondent-Driven Sampling: Analyzing Continuous
Variables and Controlling for Differential Recruitment."
- Wejnert, Cyprian and Douglas D. Heckathorn. 2008. "Web-Based
Network Sampling: Efficiency and Efficancy of Respondent-Driven
Sampling for Online Research." Sociological Methods
- This Article presents WebRDS as an online sampling
method, compares RDS estimates to institutional data, and provides a
test of several assumptions associated with RDS.
- Volz, Erik and Douglas D. Heckathorn. 2008. "Probability
Based Estimation Theory for Respondent-Driven Sampling." Journal
of Official Statistics.
- This paper introduces the RDS II estimator.
- Wejnert, Cyprian. 2009. "An
Empirical Test of Respondent-Driven Sampling: Point Estimates,
Variance, Degree Measures, and Out-of-Equilibrium Data."
forthcoming: Sociological Methodology.
In order to help the community take
advantage of the Respondent Driven Sampling methodology, we have
software package capable of analysing RDS data sets. The Respondent
Sampling Analysis Tool (RDSAT) includes the following features:
- Estimation of important population parameters such as
- Population proportions of user defined groups
- Average personal network sizes
- Measures of statistical significance for population
- Data display and editing
- Export of analysis results to formatted html
- Data visualization and graphics
- Analysis of groups defined by a breakpoint of a continuous
Documentation for RDSAT:
- How to Cite
- Volz, E.; Wejnert, C.; Cameron, C.; Spiller, M.; Barash, V.;
Degani, I.; and Heckathorn, D.D. 2012. Respondent-Driven Sampling
Analysis Tool (RDSAT) Version 7.1. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.
RDSAT Download Options:
RDSAT v7.1 Beta is now
available for Windows 32-bit, and Windows 64-bit, Mac, Unix, and Linux
systems. There are several download options,
depending on your operating system, and system configuration.
developed in JAVA, and can be run on any machine which has a JAVA
Environment installed on it. For users who have a recent
Environment (v.1.6 or greater), you may download option #1 below. If
you do not
have the JAVA Runtime Environment, you have two options: Get the latest
and then download option #1 below. Or, you may download option #2
includes a JAVA runtime; note that option#2 is a much larger file.
Windows users: If you aready
have an earlier version of RDSAT 7.1, you may
Current Version: RDSAT 7.1.46
Release Date: 17 January 2014
Mac OS X 10.8+ (No JRE)
Mac OS X users may need to temporarily disable Gatekeeper by selecting
"Allow applications downloaded from anywhere" in the Security and Privacy System Preferences.
Re-enable Gatekeeper after RDSAT 7.1 is installed and has been opened one time.
If Gatekeeper is enabled, running the RDSAT installer will generate an error:
"Installer is damaged and can't be opened."
Legacy Versions of RDSAT
6.0 Beta integrated new analytical methods
presented in Heckathorn
5.6 offered analytical methods presented in Salganik
RDS Coupon Manager:
The Respondent Driven Sampling Coupon Manager
(RDSCM) provides a convenient way to keep track of coupons numbers and
- Default password for RDSCM is "password" (all lowercase)
- RDSCM is available six languages: English, Russian,
Spanish, French, Chinese, Greek and Vietnamese.
The ethnicity and other categories can be modified to fit your site as follows:
- Click on Edit at the top left of the screen, then click on Edit Settings. Insert the administrative password, i.e., the initial value is "password."
- Click on "Studies" and in the new widow that pops up, click on "Custom Fields," and then on "Ethnicity."
This will pull up the default list of ethnicities, e.g., "Black/African American."
- Edit this list: double clicking an entry to delete it and create new items using the "Add" button.
Type in each ethnicity which fits your study, and then press the Add button.
Download RDSCM (now compatible with Windows 7!):
Douglas Heckathorn is the originator
of Respondent Driven Sampling. He can be reached at:
Department of Sociology
Ithaca, NY 14850
last updated: 12/19/12