Respondent Driven Sampling
(RDS) is generally considered a methodology for recruiting “hard-to-reach”
populations for social science research. More recently, Wejnert has argued that
RDS analysis can be used for general social network analysis as well (where he
labels it, RDS-SN). In this article, we assess the value of Wejnert’s RDS-SN
for use in more traditional ethnographic contexts. We employed RDS as part of a
larger social network research project to recruit n = 330 community residents (over 17 years of age) in
Nain, a predominantly (92%) aboriginal community in northern Labrador, Canada,
for social network interviews about food sharing, housing, public health, and
community traditions. The peer referral chains resulted in a sample that was
then analyzed for its representativeness by two means—a comparison with the
Statistics Canada 2006 Census of the same community, and with house-by-house
demographic surveys carried out in the community as part of our research. The
results show a close fit with available community statistics and our own
survey. As such, we argue that the RDS sampling used in Nain was able to
provide a useful and near-representative sample of the community. To
demonstrate the usefulness of the results, the referral chains are also
analyzed here for patterns in intragroup and intergroup relationships that were
apparent only in the aggregate.
Cite this paper
Dombrowski, K. , Khan, B. , Moses, J. , Channell, E. & Misshula, E. (2013). Assessing Respondent Driven Sampling for Network Studies in Ethnographic Contexts. Advances in Anthropology, 3,
1-9. doi: 10.4236/aa.2013.31001
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