When is enough, enough? Understanding and solving your sample size problems in health services research

Victoria Pye*, Natalie Taylor, Robyn Clay-Williams, Jeffrey Braithwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Health services researchers face two obstacles to sample size calculation: Inaccessible, highly specialised or overly technical literature, and difficulty securing methodologists during the planning stages of research. The purpose of this article is to provide pragmatic sample size calculation guidance for researchers who are designing a health services study. We aimed to create a simplified and generalizable process for sample size calculation, by (1) summarising key factors and considerations in determining a sample size, (2) developing practical steps for researchers - illustrated by a case study and, (3) providing a list of resources to steer researchers to the next stage of their calculations. Health services researchers can use this guidance to improve their understanding of sample size calculation, and implement these steps in their research practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number90
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Research Notes
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2016


Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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