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Estimating network properties from snowball sampled data
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Traffic and Logistics.
2012 (English)In: Social Networks, ISSN 0378-8733, Vol. 34, no 4, 701-711 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article addresses the estimation of topological network parameters from data obtained with a snowball sampling design. An approximate expression for the probability of a vertex to be included in the sample is derived. Based on this sampling distribution, estimators for the mean degree, the degree correlation, and the clustering coefficient are proposed. The performance of these estimators and their sensitivity with respect to the response rate are validated through Monte Carlo simulations on several test networks. Our approach has no complex computational requirements and is straightforward to apply to real-world survey data. In a snowball sample design, each respondent is typically enquired only once. Different from the widely used estimator for Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS), which assumes sampling with replacement, the proposed approach relies on sampling without replacement and is thus also applicable for large sample fractions. From the simulation experiments, we conclude that the estimation quality decreases with increasing variance of the network degree distribution. Yet, if the degree distribution is not to broad, our approach results in good estimates for the mean degree and the clustering coefficient, which, moreover, are almost independent from the response rate. The estimates for the degree correlation are of moderated quality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 34, no 4, 701-711 p.
Keyword [en]
Monte Carlo simulation, Snowball sampling, Statistical inference
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-116858DOI: 10.1016/j.socnet.2012.09.001ISI: 000313304100032ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84872387933OAI: diva2:601124
TrenOp, Transport Research Environment with Novel Perspectives

QC 20130128

Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2013-04-10Bibliographically approved

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Flötteröd, Gunnar
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