AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1754–1776 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of Published Respondent-Driven Sampling Surveys Collecting Behavioral and Biologic Data

  • Lisa G. JohnstonEmail author
  • Avi J. Hakim
  • Samantha Dittrich
  • Janet Burnett
  • Evelyn Kim
  • Richard G. White
Original Paper


Reporting key details of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) survey implementation and analysis is essential for assessing the quality of RDS surveys. RDS is both a recruitment and analytic method and, as such, it is important to adequately describe both aspects in publications. We extracted data from peer-reviewed literature published through September, 2013 that reported collected biological specimens using RDS. We identified 151 eligible peer-reviewed articles describing 222 surveys conducted in seven regions throughout the world. Most published surveys reported basic implementation information such as survey city, country, year, population sampled, interview method, and final sample size. However, many surveys did not report essential methodological and analytical information for assessing RDS survey quality, including number of recruitment sites, seeds at start and end, maximum number of waves, and whether data were adjusted for network size. Understanding the quality of data collection and analysis in RDS is useful for effectively planning public health service delivery and funding priorities.


HIV/AIDS Key populations Respondent driven sampling RDS Biological and behavioral surveillance 



We would like to thank Kate Orroth for conducting the literature search for the STROBE-RDS Guidelines and allowing us to use it for this analysis.


This Project has been supported in part by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). RGW is funded the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the MRC/DFID Concordat agreement that is also part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union (MR/J005088/1, G0802414), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium: OPP1084276, and SA Modelling for Policy: #OPP1110334) and UNITAID (4214-LSHTM-Sept15; PO #8477-0-600).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa G. Johnston
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Avi J. Hakim
    • 3
  • Samantha Dittrich
    • 3
  • Janet Burnett
    • 3
  • Evelyn Kim
    • 3
  • Richard G. White
    • 4
  1. 1.University of California, San Francisco, Global Health SciencesSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Division of Global HIV/AIDSUS Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.CMMID and Faculty of Epidemiology & Population HealthLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK

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