Ethics and Sample Size Planning

Authored by: Scott E. Maxwell , Ken Kelley

Handbook of Ethics in Quantitative Methodology

Print publication date:  January  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9781848728547
eBook ISBN: 9780203840023
Adobe ISBN: 9781136888731


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Most psychological researchers realize at least one way in which sample size planning is important. Namely, if their study fails to have sufficient statistical power, they run an increased risk of not being able to publish their work. Despite this awareness, literature reviews usually show that underpowered studies persist. In fact, underpowered studies permeate the literature not only in psychology (e.g., Bezeau & Graves, 2001; Clark-Carter, 1997; Kosciulek & Szymanski, 1993; Mone, Mueller, & Mauland, 1996; Rossi, 1990; Sedlmeier & Gigerenzer, 1989) but in other disciplines as well. For example, recent reviews in such areas of medicine as head injury (Dickinson, Bunn, Wentz, Edwards, & Roberts, 2000), orthopedics (Freedman & Bernstein, 1999), rheumatology (Keen, Pile, & Hill, 2005), stroke (Weaver, Leonardi-Bee, Bath-Hextall, & Bath, 2004), and surgery (Maggard, O’Connell, Liu, Etzioni, & Ko, 2003) show frequent instances of inadequate statistical power.

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