Sampling hidden populations: Lessons learned from a telephone-based study of persons recently diagnosed with HIV (PRDH)

Eileen M. Harwood, Keith J. Horvath, Cari Courtenay-Quirk, Holly Fisher, Rachel Kachur, Mary McFarlane, Bryn Meyer, B. R. Simon Rosser, Ann O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper describes a flexible, multi-stage, nonprobability sampling process used in a study of persons recently diagnosed as HIV-positive (PRDH). From July 2007 to June 2008, we used venue and chain-referral sampling strategies to recruit PRDH in the US. We sought equal distributions (n = 20) of eligible PRDH from four self-identified subgroups: gay or bisexual men (GBM), heterosexual men (HM), heterosexual women (HW), and male-tofemale transgender women (TGW). We categorized 30 sampling venues as websites, health clinics, or other networks. For 359 volunteer respondents, website venues proved more productive compared to health clinics and other sources. Website venues were most efficient for sampling recently diagnosed GBM and HW. Passive sampling methods were less effective in recruiting HM and TGW. Sampling approaches should be flexible and tailored to reach sub-categories within hidden populations. The sampling process itself produced valuable knowledge about social networks of hidden HIV populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant #5UR6PS000341. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Keywords

  • HIV
  • chain-referral sampling
  • hidden populations
  • qualitative methodology
  • subject recruitment
  • venue sampling

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