Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Advances in Anthropology (2013) 3(1): 1-9. DOI:10.4236/aa.2013.31001


Copyright © 2013 SciRes. Used by Permission


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 sur- veys 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 relation- ships that were apparent only in the aggregate.