Skepticism about rds inference validity: Preliminary empirical findings from a recruitment dynamic and network study
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 5:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Background: Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) has gained its popularity internationally in HIV research and epidemiological surveillance for its cost effectiveness in reaching hidden populations and claimed ability to make unbiased population estimates. However, RDS inference models were based on strong but unsupported assumptions regarding peer recruitment processes and the structure of underlying social networks. The inference validity can be threatened when one or more of the underlying assumptions fail. Methods: A mixed method intensive social network study is being conducted in Hartford, CT to recruit a typical RDS sample of 500 injection drug users (IDUs). Comprehensive social network surveys before and after actual peer recruitment, field outreach, as well as 60 in-depth interviews will be analyzed to assess IDUs' peer recruitment intentions, actual experiences, and real world contextual factors associate with their multi-layered social network composition and structures related to RDS implementation. Results: Preliminary ego-network analysis does not support random peer recruitment assumptions. IDUs were more likely to pass recruitment coupons to strong ties, those who need money, reliable for appointments, depend more on drugs, and those within convenient social and geographical distances. The role and strength of contextual factors shaping peer selection decision making, recruitment experience and enrollment success were different, although previous inference models failed to differentiate these dynamic behaviors and associated network compositions. Implications of these patterns to the validity of RDS inferences will be discussed. Conclusions: Empirical network data specifically related to RDS implementation and recruitment dynamics are necessary to improve RDS estimators in the future.
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
List two or more threats to RDS inference validity;
Explain what peer recruitment patterns and network characteristics have implications to RDS inference validity?
Keyword(s): Methodology, Epidemiology
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of two and Co-Investigator of 7 NIH funded social behavioral research studies in HIV prevention and interventions among drug users, commercial sex workers and other marginalized populations. My research interests include social network analysis, respondent driven sampling, system thinking and modeling, integration of qualitative and quantitative analysis, community based multi-level intervention, translation and implementation research, etc..
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.