Web-Based Network Sampling: Efficiency and Efficacy of Respondent-Driven Sampling for Online Research

Cyprian Wejnert and Douglas D. Heckathorn Web-Based Network Sampling: Efficiency and Efficacy of Respondent-Driven Sampling for Online Research  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 105-134.

This study tests the feasibility, effectiveness, and efficiency of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) as a Web-based sampling method. Web-based RDS (WebRDS) is found to be highly efficient and effective. The online nature of WebRDS allows referral chains to progress very quickly, such that studies with large samples can be expected to proceed up to 20 times faster than with traditionalsampling methods. Additionally, the unhidden nature of the study population allows comparison of RDS estimators to institutional data. Results indicate that RDS estimates are reasonable but not precise. This is likely due to bias associated with the random recruitment assumption and small sample size of the study. Finally, this article presents methods for testing the validity of assumptions required by RDS estimation.

Key Words: respondent-driven sampling • online research • network sampling • higher education

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One Response to Web-Based Network Sampling: Efficiency and Efficacy of Respondent-Driven Sampling for Online Research

  1. Bryan says:

    Since 2008 we have worked to develop tools to simplify the setting up of respondent driven sampling (RDS) research sites to ensure integrity of the data captured. The system is web based and provides the ability for a researcher to manage the data and performance of the research site online. All data collected is RDSAT compatible.

    We have created a unique automated serial numbering system. The system helps to simplify eligibility screening of participants and links a social network via the serial number. The system prints the invitation coupons with a serial number and allows the number to be scanned into the data base to capture the required data for your research.

    Features of the BRYANT System:

    Capture Participants
    Print Serial Number
    Screen Eligibility
    Electronic Questionnaires
    Incentive Management
    Data Capturing
    Data Management
    Off Site Monitoring

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