What is Respondent Driven Sampling ?

Respondent-driven sampling (RDS), combines "snowball sampling" with a mathematical model that weights the sample to compensate for the fact that the sample was collected in a non-random way. More.

Data Requirements for RDS Analysis

While data requirements for RDS analysis are minimal, there are three pieces of information which are essential for analysis (RDS analysis CANNOT BE PERFORMED without these fields for each respondent):


Respondent-Driven Sampling References
Peer-Driven Intervention References

Core RDS References:


In order to help the community take advantage of the Respondent Driven Sampling methodology, we have developed a software package capable of analysing RDS data sets. The Respondent Driven Sampling Analysis Tool (RDSAT) includes the following features:
Documentation for RDSAT:
About RDSAT:

RDSAT Download Options:

RDSAT v7.1 Beta is now available for Windows 32-bit, and Windows 64-bit, Mac, Unix, and Linux operating systems. There are several download options, depending on your operating system, and system configuration. 

RDSAT was developed in JAVA, and can be run on any machine which has a JAVA Runtime Environment installed on it. For users who have a recent JAVA Runtime Environment (v.1.6 or greater), you may download option #1 below. If you do not have the JAVA Runtime Environment, you have two options: Get the latest JAVA RE from http://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp, and then download option #1 below. Or, you may download option #2 below, which includes a JAVA runtime; note that option#2 is a much larger file.

Windows users: If you aready have an earlier version of RDSAT 7.1, you may use Option#1.

Current Version:   RDSAT 7.1.46
Release Date:      17 January 2014
20.5 MB
RDSAT_windows_withJRE (includes JRE)
37.5 MB

Windows 64-bit
20 MB
RDSAT_windows-x64_withJRE (includes JRE)
38.5 MB

Mac OS X 10.8+ (No JRE)
Mac OS X users may need to temporarily disable Gatekeeper by selecting "Allow applications downloaded from anywhere" in the Security and Privacy System Preferences. Re-enable Gatekeeper after RDSAT 7.1 is installed and has been opened one time. If Gatekeeper is enabled, running the RDSAT installer will generate an error: "Installer is damaged and can't be opened."

Unix/Linux (No JRE)
RDSAT_unix (sh) 19.7 MB
RDSAT_linux (rpm)
20.3 MB

Legacy Versions of RDSAT

  • RDSAT 6.0 Beta integrated new analytical methods presented in Heckathorn (2007).
  • RDSAT 5.6 offered analytical methods presented in Salganik and Heckathorn (2004).

  • RDS Coupon Manager:

    The Respondent Driven Sampling Coupon Manager (RDSCM) provides a convenient way to keep track of coupons numbers and respondent compensation.
    Download RDSCM (now compatible with Windows 7!):


    Douglas Heckathorn is the originator of Respondent Driven Sampling. He can be reached at:

    Department of Sociology
    Cornell University
    Ithaca, NY 14850
    Email: douglas.heckathorn@cornell.edu

    Fax: 607.255.8473
    Voice: 607.255.4368
    Internet: https://sociology.cornell.edu/douglas-heckathorn

    Document last updated: 12/19/12