Measuring transnational social fields through binational link-tracing sampling

Marian-Gabriel Hâncean*, Miranda Jessica Lubbers , José Luis Molina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We advance bi-national link-tracing sampling design, an innovative data collection methodology for sampling from so-called “transnational social fields”, i.e. transnational networks embedding migrants, returned migrants and non-migrants. This paper describes our contributions to this methodology and its empirical implementation, and evaluates the features of the resulting networks (sample), with the aim to guide future research. We performed 303 face-to-face structured interviews on sociodemographic variables, migration trajectories and personal networks of people living in a Romanian migration sending community (Dâmbovița) and in a migration receiving Spanish town (Castellón). Inter-connecting the personal networks, we built a multi-layered complex network structure embedding 4,855 nominated people, 5,477 directed ties (nominations) and 2,540 edges. Results indicate that the link-tracing nomination patterns are affected by sex and residence homophily. Our research contributes to the emerging efforts of applying social network analysis to the study of international migration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0253042
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2021


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