15. Network Sampling and Link-Tracing Designs

  1. Steven K. Thompson

Published Online: 10 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118162934.ch15

Sampling, Third Edition

Sampling, Third Edition

How to Cite

Thompson, S. K. (2012) Network Sampling and Link-Tracing Designs, in Sampling, Third Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118162934.ch15

Author Information

  1. Simon Fraser University, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 23 FEB 2012

Book Series:

  1. Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics

Book Series Editors:

  1. Walter A. Shewhart and
  2. Samuel S. Wilks

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470402313

Online ISBN: 9781118162934



  • link-tracing designs;
  • network sampling


The network sampling design was first used not to increase efficiency but because it unavoidably arose in the sampling situation. Later papers on the subject recognized its potential for giving lower variance estimates than conventional procedures and for increasing the “yield” of the survey; that is, the total number of people in the sample with the disease or other characteristic. This chapter looks at the wider field of link-tracing designs, in which social or other links between units are followed in obtaining the sample. The network sampling designs described here are particularly nice because the links between units are symmetric and it is possible to trace the links to include in the sample every unit in a given network. Thus, the inclusion probabilities can be computed for every unit in the sample and design-unbiased estimators formed.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

estimator; sampling fraction