Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology for respondent-driven sampling studies: "STROBE-RDS" statement

Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Richard G WhiteWolfgang Hladik


Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) is a new data collection methodology used to estimate characteristics of hard-to-reach groups, such as the HIV prevalence in drug users. Many national public health systems and international organizations rely on RDS data. However, RDS reporting quality and available reporting guidelines are inadequate. We carried out a systematic review of RDS studies and present Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology for RDS Studies (STROBE-RDS), a checklist of essential items to present in RDS publications, justified by an explanation and elaboration document. We searched the MEDLINE (1970-2013), EMBASE (1974-2013), and Global Health (1910-2013) databases to assess the number and geographical distribution of published RDS studies. STROBE-RDS was developed based on STROBE guidelines, following Guidance for Developers of Health Research Reporting Guidelines. RDS has been used in over 460 studies from 69 countries, including the USA (151 studies), China (70), and India (32). STROBE-RDS includes modifications to 12 of the 22 items on the STROBE checklist. The two key areas that required modification concerned the selection of participants and statistical analysis of the sample. STROB...Continue Reading


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