From Networks to Populations: The Development and Application of Respondent-Driven Sampling Among IDUs and Latino Gay Men

Cornell University, Итак, New York, United States
AIDS and Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.49). 01/2006; 9(4):387-402. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-005-9012-3
Source: PubMed


One of the challenges in studying HIV-risk behaviors among gay men is gathering information from a non-biased sample, as traditional probability sampling methods cannot be applied in gay populations. Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) has been proposed as a reliable and bias-free method to recruit "hidden" populations, such as gay men. The aim of this study is to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of RDS to sample Latino gay men and transgender persons. This was carried out when we used RDS to recruit participants into a study that investigated community involvement on HIV/AIDS sexual risk behaviors among Latino gay and bisexual men, and transgender (male-to-female) persons in Chicago and San Francisco. The population coverage of RDS was then compared to simulated time-location sampling (TLS). Recruitment differences were observed across cities, but the samples were comparable. RDS showed broader population coverage than TLS, especially among individuals at high risk for HIV.

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    • "Theoretically, an equilibrium state would be attained after several waves of recruitment, and unbiased statistical estimates approaching those obtained from random probability sampling would be obtained [33,35]. The RDS design is hence an improvement over the venue-based sampling method commonly used in HIV research targeting MSM [36,37]. "
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    • "This recruitment strategy relies on peer referral and dualincentives to recruit members of hidden populations for which a sampling frame of the entire population cannot be obtained. Previous research among Latino gay men has shown this recruitment strategy to provide larger population coverage, and thus more reliable and valid population estimates, than time-location sampling (Ramirez-Valles et al. 2005). In all, 4 invited participants and 96 referred participants completed the survey. "
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    • "Qualitative and mixed-methods researchers have developed a variety of innovative approaches to access more diverse and representative samples of hidden populations, although some degree of sampling bias and limitations to representativeness inevitably remain. We have found it most efficacious to combine strategies from a variety of sampling strategies – venue-based sampling (Arcury & Quandt 1999; Stueve et al. 2001; Kelly 2010), targeted sampling (Bluthenthal & Watters 1995; Carlson et al. 1994; Peterson et al. 2008), and respondent-driven sampling (Heckathorn 1997; 2002; Ramirez-Valles et al. 2005; Wang et al. 2005), rather than adhering strictly to one model alone. Our success in utilizing these different sampling strategies has varied. "
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