Waging Culture

Waging Culture.

Fortunately, the intravenous drug-using population has come to the rescue.

In 1997, Douglas Heckathorn of Cornell University began developing research strategies that could transcend issues of significance in studying hidden (but networked) populations. His main interest was studying the prevalence of HIV in intravenous drug users. The difficulties in studying such a truly hidden and stigmatized population are remarkably similar to the difficulties in studying visual artists, and indeed the techniques he developed are of great interest to cultural economists.

Through some very tightly controlled studies on what actually happens in referral chain sampling, Heckathorn was able to effectively demonstrate that, indeed, with six ‘waves’ of recruitment, the demographics of the selected sample achieves equilibrium. That is, after six recruitment waves, the ratio of any sort of variable within the sample (gender, ethnicity, et cetera) would stabilize so that further waves of recruitment would reflect the same ratio.


~ by Rocky Green on August 22, 2008.

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