RDS Analyst Install


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RDS Analyst (RDS-A) is a software package for the analysis of Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) data that implements recent advances in statistical methods.

RDS Analyst has an easy-to-use graphical user interface to the powerful and sophisticated capabilities of the computer package R. RDS Analyst provides a comprehensive framework for working with RDS data, including tools for sample and population estimations, testing, confidence intervals and sensitivity analysis.

Example capabilities are an easy format for entering data, the visualization of recruitment chains, regression modeling, and missing data.

The interface of RDS Analyst is similar to SPSS. RDS Analyst is also a free, easy to use, alternative to proprietary data analysis software such as SPSS, STATA, SAS/JMP, and Minitab. It has a menu system to do common data manipulation and analysis tasks, and an Excel-like spreadsheet in which to view and edit data.

RDS Analyst is meant for users who want to use state-of-the-art techniques for estimation and quantification of uncertainty from data collected via RDS. It represents advanced, comprehensive and open-source software to visualize, model and conduct sensitivity analyzes for RDS data.

RDS Analyst is an intuitive, cross-platform graphical data analysis system for the analysis of RDS data. It uses menus and dialogs to guide the user efficiently through the data manipulation and analysis process, and has an Excel-like spreadsheet for easy data frame visualization and editing. It is also the front-end to the very powerful capabilities accessible via the R command-line interface and also the extensive capabilities of the R statistical language.

Basic facts

  • RDS Analyst is written for the R statistical environment.
  • The current development form is for Windows and Macintosh. A LINUX version will be available in installers when it is released publicly.


Installation on an Windows PC

The installer is at:


Download the install and double-click on it to install the software.

This can install all programs and utilities needed. If you already have some elements installed you can deselect (or cancel) during the installs. It is recommended that you install this all the first time. This installer is over 150Mb in size and will take time to download.

A reboot is not required. You do not need to uninstall any components to update (This includes R and Java). However the RDS Analyst application or the R application must not be running when you update.

You need the Java Runtime Environment to use RDS Analyst. You can check to see if you have the right java installed through the Windows Start menu:

  1. Launch the Windows Start menu
  2. Click on All Apps
  3. Find the Java program listing
  4. Click About Java to see the Java version

If you get a result like this, it means that Java is correctly installed.If there is no Java listing or an earlier version number you do not have Java correctly installed. In this case, in the installer click Yes so as to install it

If you do not have Administrator privileges and the Java Runtime Environment is not installed then you will not be able to run RDS Analyst.

Note for experienced users: This creates a private version of R for RDS Analyst to use and ensures RDS Analyst has the right version of R available for its use. If you already have R installed separately, the two versions will peacefully coexist and you can use the other version of R just as you were originally.

Finally, be sure to sign up for the RDS Analyst Users Group.

Installation on an Apple Macintosh

There is a version for Apple Macintosh computers. They must have Intel CPUs (i.e., be purchased post-2006). To install, please follow the steps below:

  • STEP 1: Download and install R-3.5.1 from here: http://hpmrg.org/software/R-3.5.1.pkg
    • This requires Mac OS 10.10 or newer. If you have an older Mac with a Mac OS that has not been updated since mid 2013, then you likely need to update via the Apple Store.
  • STEP 2: RDS Analyst uses Java to work. It uses the Apple version of Java. PLEASE INSTALL FROM THIS LINK: http://hpmrg.org/software/jdk-8u191-macosx-x64.dmg
    • You can check to see if you have Java installed by typing "java -version" in a Terminal window. If you have enabled the browser version of Java (not necessary for RDS Analyst), you can find the version at http://javatester.org/version.html. If you install the above version of Java it should report "Version number translation: 1.8.0_191 is, in English, Java 8 Update 191".
  • STEP 3: Download the RDS Analyst Installer: http://hpmrg.org/software/RDSAnalystInstaller.0.66.dmg
    • It should mount as a disk-image. Double-click on the installer in it (i.e., "RDSAnalystInstaller") to install the software.

A reboot is not required. You do not need to uninstall any components to update (This includes R and Java). However the RDS Analyst application or the R application must not be running when you update.

The RDS Analyst application and R will be in your Applications folder. To run RDS Analyst, double-click on it in the Applications folder.

Tips: The recent updates to the Apple Mac OS (Sierra and High Sierra) have reorganized the ways apps, like RDS Analyst, work. So sometimes RDS Analyst will not be configured correctly and will not start (e.g., bouncing icon or no response to double clicking). Most of these relate to how Java works on the Mac. The first thing to try is to open the Terminal and type in :

R CMD javareconf

This asks R to check on the configuration of Java and try to get in sync with it.

Finally, be sure to sign up for the RDS Analyst Users Group.

Getting started - The Manual

For the manual, go to RDS Analyst Manual

RDS Analyst citation information

To cite RDS Analyst, go to citation.

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