Design, Implementation, and Analysis: An Exploration of Respondent Driven Sampling

16th June 2011 to 17th June 2011

Date and Venue

16 June, 2011
Room 822 | Institute of Education, University of London


The workshop is free to researchers interested in RDS methodology, but space is limited.

If you would like to attend, please email Renee Luthra:

Conference Aims

The purpose of this conference is to bring together statisticians and survey methodologists developing Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) with researchers using the method to survey immigrants. RDS utilizes social networks to find, survey, and develop inference on "hidden populations" like sex workers, drug users, and migrant workers.

The method was introduced in 1997 and has since become widely used, yet RDS is often incorrectly implemented and the most recent statistical developments can take years to come into practice. Bringing together researchers using RDS methodology with leading statisticians and survey methodologists will further the aims of all three, by informing theory with practice and practice with the latest developments in statistical and methodological theory. The conference will also inform future applications of the method on migrant populations.


This seminar has been organised under the auspices of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) and the UK Longitudinal Studies Centre (ULSC). Support for the conference is also provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) (award no. RES-518-28-001), the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and the Norface Migration Research Programme.

An international group of invited speakers include:

Douglas Heckathorn, Simon Frost, Krista Gile, Matthew Salganik, Richard White, Peter Muhlau, Lisa Johnston, Andrew Cleary, Tetiana Saliuk, Guri Tyldum and Renee Luthra.

Final Programme

Thursday, 16 June, 2011

8:30 – 9:30 Tea/Coffee and Registration

9:30 – 11:00 Statistical Developments in RDS I

Matthew Salganik, Assistant Professor, Princeton University
Assessing respondent-driven sampling

Richard White, Senior Lecturer, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
An empirical evaluation of Respondent-Driven Sampling

Krista Gile, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
New methods for inference from Respondent-Driven Sampling Data

11:30 – 13:00 Statistical Developments in RDS II

Douglas Heckathorn, Professer, Cornell University
RDS - Testing Assumptions: Sampling with Replacement

Simon Frost, University Senior Lecturer, Cambridge University
Network sizes, homophily, and RDS

Mark Handcock, Professor, UCLA
Estimating the Size of Hard-to-Reach Populations using Respondent-Driven Sampling Data

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch and Discussion

14:00 – 15:30 Applying RDS to Migration Populations I

Peter Muhlau, Lecturer, Trinity College Dublin
Respondent-driven sampling as sampling method for migrant communities: Experiences from ‘Polonia in Dublin’

Guri Tyldum, Researcher, Fafo
“Lessons learned from RDS-surveys among Polish migrants in the Scandinavian countries 2006 to 2010. Practical challenges, identifying biases and getting the network variable right”

Andrew Cleary, Survey Researcher, Ipsos Mori London
Adapting RDS for the study of new migrants in London

15:30 – 16:00 Tea and Coffee

16:30 – 18:00 Applying RDS to Migration Populations II

Lisa Johnston, Assistant Professor, Tulane University School of International Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Senior Analyst with University of California, San Francisco, Global Health Sciences; Independent Consultant.
Formative Research to determine quantitative sampling methodologies: the feasibility of using respondent driven sampling among mobile populations in the Dominican Republic

Renee Luthra, Senior Research Officer, Institute for Social and Economic Research
RDS for Migration Studies? A Review and Invitation to Discuss