In the era of systematic reviews, does the size of an individual trial still matter

PLoS Med. 2008 Jan 3;5(1):e4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050004.


Systematic reviews that combine high-quality evidence from several trials are now widely considered to be at the top of the hierarchy of clinical evidence. Given the primacy of systematic reviews-and the fact that individual clinical trials rarely provide definitive answers to a clinical research question-some commentators question whether the sample size calculation for an individual trial still matters. Others point out that small trials can still be potentially misleading.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Sample Size*