Korean J Anesthesiol.  2021 Feb;74(1):23-29. 10.4097/kja.20662.

General considerations for sample size estimation in animal study

  • 1Department of Biostatistics, Dongguk University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea


The aim of this paper is to introduce basic concepts and methods for calculating sample size in animal studies. At the planning stage of clinical studies, the determination of the sample size is a very important process to show the validity, accuracy, and reliability of the study. However, not all studies require a sample size to be calculated. Before conducting the study, it is essential to determine whether the study objectives suggest a pilot and exploratory study, as well as the purpose of testing the hypothesis of interest. Since most animal experiments are pilot and exploratory studies, it would be more appropriate to review other considerations for conducting an experiment while maintaining scientific and qualitative levels rather than sample size estimation. Sample size is calculated in various situations in animal studies. Therefore, it can be estimated according to the situations and objectives through the methods of precision analysis, power analysis, and so on. In some cases, nonparametric methods can be employed if the assumptions of normality is not met or a small sample is available for the study.


Animal study; Parametric sample size; Nonparametric sample size; Power analysis; Precision analysis; Pilot study; Exploratory study
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