Testing Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) to Sample Special Populations

Project Description


The objective of the subproject "Testing Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) to Sample Special Populations" is to evaluate RDS which is a new and promising method to sample hard-to-reach populations as drug users, homosexuals, illegal immigrants, or homeless. Since special populations are of specific interest in the social sciences, it is particularly relevant to find reliable sampling methods to enhance data quality in respective studies.

Given certain assumptions, RDS provides estimators of standard errors, or allows to calculate confidence intervals. Although a number of studies have applied the technique, there is still a special need to evaluate the method.

Particularly, the survey practice has to be analyzed in detail to improve the sampling process. Furthermore, it has to be tested if a number of assumptions which RDS makes can be fulfilled in reality of survey contexts.

In order to apply the method in field studies, the subproject aims to carry out two studies: (1) sampling students and comparing results from simple random sampling with RDS, and (2) sampling individuals consuming cannabis (special population).