DNP 830 Discussion Determination of Appropriate Sample Size

March 8, 2022
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DNP 830 Discussion Determination of Appropriate Sample Size

DNP 830 Discussion Determination of Appropriate Sample Size

Assume you want to do a project that compares the survey results before an intervention to those after an intervention in the same sample (the same people will take both surveys). You plan to use a paired t-test to analyze your results. Using the “Determining the Appropriate Sample Size,” Topic Material, perform a sample size calculation to determine how large your sample should be. Justify your sample size calculation with citations. Discuss how your sample size may affect the validity of your study.

Sample size determination is the act of choosing the number of observations or replicates to include in a statistical sample. The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample. In practice, the sample size used in a study is usually determined based on the cost, time, or convenience of collecting the data, and the need for it to offer sufficient statistical power. In complicated studies there may be several different sample sizes: for example, in a stratified survey there would be different sizes for each stratum. In a census, data is sought for an entire population, hence the intended sample size is equal to the population. In experimental design, where a study may be divided into different treatment groups, there may be different sample sizes for each group.

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DNP 830 Discussion Determination of Appropriate Sample Size

DNP 830 Discussion Determination of Appropriate Sample Size

Sample sizes may be chosen in several ways:

using experience – small samples, though sometimes unavoidable, can result in wide confidence intervals and risk of errors in statistical hypothesis testing.
using a target variance for an estimate to be derived from the sample eventually obtained, i.e. if a high precision is required (narrow confidence interval) this translates to a low target variance of the estimator.
using a target for the power of a statistical test to be applied once the sample is collected.
using a confidence level, i.e. the larger the required confidence level, the larger the sample size (given a constant precision requirement).

Larger sample sizes generally lead to increased precision when estimating unknown parameters. For example, if we wish to know the proportion of a certain species of fish that is infected with a pathogen, we would generally have a more precise estimate of this proportion if we sampled and examined 200 rather than 100 fish. Several fundamental facts of mathematical statistics describe this phenomenon, including the law of large numbers and the central limit theorem.

In some situations, the increase in precision for larger sample sizes is minimal, or even non-existent. This can result from the presence of systematic errors or strong dependence in the data, or if the data follows a heavy-tailed distribution.

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