Networks are defined as sets of items and their connections. Interconnected items are

represented by mathematical abstractions called vertices (or nodes), and the links connecting pairs of vertices are known as edges. Networks are easily seen in everyday life: a network of friends, the Internet, metabolic or citation networks. The increase of available data and the need to analyze network have resulted in the proliferation of models for networks. However, for networks with billions of nodes and edges, computation and inference might not be achieved within a reasonable amount of time or budget. A sampling approach seems a natural choice, but traditional models assume that we can have access to the entire network. Moreover, when data is only available for a sampled sub-network conclusions tend to be extrapolated to the whole network/population without regard to sampling error.

The statistical problem this report addresses is the issue of how to sample a sub-network and then draw conclusions about the whole network. Are some sampling techniques better than others? Are there more efficient ways to estimate parameters of interest? In which way can we measure how effectively my method is reproducing the original network? We explore these questions with a simulation study on Mesa High School students' friendship network. First, to assess the characteristics of the whole network, we applied the traditional exponential random graph model (ERGM) and a stochastic blockmodel to the complete population of 205 students. Then, we drew simple random and stratified samples of 41 students, applied the traditional ERGM and the stochastic blockmodel again, and defined a way to generalized the sample findings to the population friendship network of 205 students. Finally, we used the degree distribution and other network statistics to compare the true friendship network with the projected one.

We achieved the following important results: 1) as expected stratified sampling outperforms simple random sampling when selecting nodes; 2) ERGM without restrictions offers a poor estimate for most of the tested parameters; and 3) the Bayesian stochastic blockmodel estimation using a strati ed sample of nodes achieves the best results.