Planning Fundamentals

5 Reasons to Run Sample Size Calculations Before Collecting Data

September 9th, 2011 by

Most of us run sample size calculations when a granting agency or committee requires it.  That’s reason 1.

That is a very good reason.  But there are others, and it can be helpful to keep these in mind when you’re tempted to skip this step or are grumbling through the calculations you’re required to do.

It’s easy to base your sample size on what is customary in your field (“I’ll use 20 subjects per condition”) or to just use the number of subjects in a similar study (“They used 150, so I will too”).

Sometimes you can get away with doing that.

However, there really are some good reasons beyond funding to do some sample size estimates. And since they’re not especially time-consuming, it’s worth doing them. (more…)