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Open Science Coffee: How to justify your sample size?

Thursday 3 March 2022

How to justify your sample size?

It is becoming increasingly more likely that researchers have to justify the sample size for their study at some point. This kind of information often needs to be included in an application for funding, a (mandatory) data management plan, a pre-registration document, or an application to get the study approved by the ethical committee. Furthermore, some scientific journals also require authors to provide a rationale for the sample size. Even when one would somehow manage to “avoid” all this, you can still count on pesky Reviewer 2 to bring up that issue. In addition, there appears to be a growing awareness among researchers that it is actually a good idea to think about one’s design and sample size in advance. However, researchers may struggle to put that into practice; and conduct, for example, a power analysis, particularly when their data (will) have a complex structure. In this talk, I discuss a number of options and tools to deal with these kind of issues.

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