Sample Size Requirements for Discrete-Choice Experiments in Healthcare: a Practical Guide

Patient. 2015 Oct;8(5):373-84. doi: 10.1007/s40271-015-0118-z.


Discrete-choice experiments (DCEs) have become a commonly used instrument in health economics and patient-preference analysis, addressing a wide range of policy questions. An important question when setting up a DCE is the size of the sample needed to answer the research question of interest. Although theory exists as to the calculation of sample size requirements for stated choice data, it does not address the issue of minimum sample size requirements in terms of the statistical power of hypothesis tests on the estimated coefficients. The purpose of this paper is threefold: (1) to provide insight into whether and how researchers have dealt with sample size calculations for healthcare-related DCE studies; (2) to introduce and explain the required sample size for parameter estimates in DCEs; and (3) to provide a step-by-step guide for the calculation of the minimum sample size requirements for DCEs in health care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration
  • Health Services Research / standards
  • Health Services Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Patient Preference / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sample Size*