Institute for Community Research
RDS Network and Peer Recruitment Dynamics

RDS Network and Peer Recruitment Dynamics


Injection Drug User (IDU) Peer Recruitment Dynamics and Network Structure in Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS)

Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) has gained its popularity internationally for its cost effectiveness in reaching hidden populations and claimed ability to make unbiased population estimates. However, RDS inference models were based on strong assumptions regarding peer recruitment processes and the structure of underlying social networks, which have not yet been empirically scrutinized. We conducted a mixed method intensive social network study in Hartford, CT and recruit a typical RDS sample of 524 injection drug users (IDUs). Comprehensive social network surveys before and after actual peer recruitment, location information, as well as 60 in-depth interviews will be analyzed to assess IDUs’ peer recruitment intentions, actual experiences, and real world contextual factors associated with coupon distribution and return success. This study is the first attempt to scrutinize an RDS sample as complex multiple-layered networks linked by different social ties specifically related to RDS sample recruitment progresses using mixed methods. Findings will have direct application to development of improved RDS estimators; or to assess performance of existing estimators. This Study addresses the challenges faced by epidemiologists and policy makers to better understand the HIV risk profile among injection drug using populations and other hidden high-risk groups.

Project Staff and Collaborators

JiangHong Li, M.D., M.S.
Principal Investigator
(860) 278-2044 ext. 297

Margaret R. Weeks

Gayatri Moorthi, Ph.D.
Project Coordinator/Ethnographer

Chiekwu Obidoa, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Heather Mosher, Ph.D.

Gregory Palmer
Outreach Interviewer

Eduardo Robles
Outreach Interviewer

University of Southern California
Thomas Valente, Ph.D.

Yale University
Robert Heimer, Ph.D.


Please read the project abstract here.


Please read the project findings here.