Power and sample size calculations. A review and computer program

Control Clin Trials. 1990 Apr;11(2):116-28. doi: 10.1016/0197-2456(90)90005-m.


Methods of sample size and power calculations are reviewed for the most common study designs. The sample size and power equations for these designs are shown to be special cases of two generic formulae for sample size and power calculations. A computer program is available that can be used for studies with dichotomous, continuous, or survival response measures. The alternative hypotheses of interest may be specified either in terms of differing response rates, means, or survival times, or in terms of relative risks or odds ratios. Studies with dichotomous or continuous outcomes may involve either a matched or independent study design. The program can determine the sample size needed to detect a specified alternative hypothesis with the required power, the power with which a specific alternative hypothesis can be detected with a given sample size, or the specific alternative hypotheses that can be detected with a given power and sample size. The program can generate help messages on request that facilitate the use of this software. It writes a log file of all calculated estimates and can produce an output file for plotting power curves. It is written in FORTRAN-77 and is in the public domain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Normal Distribution
  • Probability
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design*
  • Sampling Studies*
  • Software*
  • Survival Analysis