Using Respondent Driven Sampling to Recruit Sexual Minority Women

Kelly R Martin, Timothy P Johnson, Tonda L Hughes


ABSTRACT: Purpose: To describe: (1) recruitment of a community sample of sexual minority women (SMW) using respondent driven sampling (RDS), (2) and how RDS was modified to reach target recruitment goals, and (3) characteristics of successful recruiters. Methods: We compared the rates of recruitment using RDS and two modifications of RDS that we developed during our recruitment of SMW in Chicago. Key demographics of successful recruiters are described. Results: Using RDS without modifying the standard methodology provided the best rate of recruitment, but moved too slowly to be cost effective. Modifications proved necessary to meet recruitment goals. Participants who successfully recruited others tended to be younger, were African-American, have a high school education or less, and have an income of $20,000 per year or less. Conclusion: Researchers using RDS to recruit SMW may need to consider modifying RDS methodology. Flexibility and adequate staff resources are important. Using RDS to fill specific cells required to obtain a diverse sample may be difficult given the nature of RDS and the demographic characteristics of successful recruiters.


respondent driven sampling, sexual minority women

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