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Linked Ego Networks: Improving estimate reliability and validity with respondent-driven sampling
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Karolinska Institute.
2013 (English)In: Social Networks, ISSN 0378-8733, Vol. 35, no 4, 669-685 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is currently widely used for the study of HIV/AIDS-related high risk populations. However, recent studies have shown that traditional RDS methods are likely to generate large variances and may be severely biased since the assumptions behind RDS are seldom fully met in real life. To improve estimation in RDS studies, we propose a new method to generate estimates with ego network data, which is collected by asking respondents about the composition of their personal networks, such as what proportion of your friends are married?. By simulations on an extracted real-world social network of gay men as well as on artificial networks with varying structural properties, we show that the precision of estimates for population characteristics is greatly improved. The proposed estimator shows superior advantages over traditional RDS estimators, and most importantly, the method exhibits strong robustness to the recruitment preference of respondents and degree reporting error, which commonly happen in RDS practice and may generate large estimate biases and errors for traditional RDS estimators. The positive results henceforth encourage researchers to collect ego network data for variables of interests by RDS, for both hard-to-access populations and general populations when random sampling is not applicable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 35, no 4, 669-685 p.
Keyword [en]
Ego networks, Respondent-driven sampling, HIV, Reporting error, Differential recruitment
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99906DOI: 10.1016/j.socnet.2013.10.001ISI: 000328713500014OAI: diva2:690311


Available from: 2014-01-23 Created: 2014-01-20 Last updated: 2014-01-23Bibliographically approved

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