Sample size determination

ILAR J. 2002;43(4):207-13. doi: 10.1093/ilar.43.4.207.


Scientists who use animals in research must justify the number of animals to be used, and committees that review proposals to use animals in research must review this justification to ensure the appropriateness of the number of animals to be used. This article discusses when the number of animals to be used can best be estimated from previous experience and when a simple power and sample size calculation should be performed. Even complicated experimental designs requiring sophisticated statistical models for analysis can usually be simplified to a single key or critical question so that simple formulae can be used to estimate the required sample size. Approaches to sample size estimation for various types of hypotheses are described, and equations are provided in the Appendix. Several web sites are cited for more information and for performing actual calculations

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pilot Projects
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sample Size*