Calculating Sample Size

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…)

5 Steps for Calculating Sample Size

November 12th, 2008 by

Nearly all granting agencies require an estimate of an adequate sample size to detect the effects hypothesized in the study. But all studies are well served by estimates of sample size, as it can save a great deal on resources.

stage 1

Why? Undersized studies can’t find real results, and oversized studies find even insubstantial ones. Both undersized and oversized studies waste time, energy, and money; the former by using resources without finding results, and the latter by using more resources than necessary. Both expose an unnecessary number of participants to experimental risks.

The trick is (more…)