Factors That May Affect Sample Size During Academic Research

Sample Size

The quantity of diverse types that are existing or have been seen during an experiment or analysis is known as the sample size. No additional research step is more essential to producing a valid study than gathering a sufficient sample, which is second only to deciding a study question and a reasonable study layout.

The most crucial design choice a researcher must make is choosing appropriate sample size. The reason for this is that if the sample size is too small, the research won’t be precise enough to offer trustworthy responses to the open-ended questions. Furthermore, if the sample size is excessively big, resources like time and money will be frequently spent for little gain.

Importance of Sample Size in a Research:

  • For your academic research to be effective and to yield credible, mathematically considerable outcomes, the sample size is crucial.
  • If your sample is too tiny, your compromise involves an inflated sum of participants who are exceptions and outliers. You don’t get a genuine expression from the total population because it influences the results.
  • The analysis evolves to be entangled, costly, and takes considerable time to perform if the selected sample is excessively massive. Although the findings are more authentic, the benefits of a large sample are not greater than its drawbacks.

Factors Affecting Sample Size During Academic Research:

You need to take into account a few distinct aspects of your research that have an impact on sample size and develop a fundamental understanding of the statistics at play. Some of the factors that affect sample size are explained below:

Population Size:

How many people in total are you referring to? You must be certain about who belongs in your group and who does not to figure this out. If you wish to learn who owns dogs, for instance, you will involve anyone who has ever possessed at least one dog. By counting on the objectives of your study, you may encompass or omit people who have held dogs in the past. If you cannot picture the precise quantity, don’t worry. Hiring a PhD dissertation help service can solve your problem.

Permitted Amount Of Error:

Glitches are unavoidable; the issue is how large a glitch you will tolerate. The confidence interval, often known as the permitted amount of error, is stated in words of average values. You can decide how great fluctuation there should be between the population’s average and the sample’s mean number. You have perhaps noticed a confidence interval and how it is reflected in political voting if you’ve ever watched the news.

Confidence Level:

The confidence level is different from the confidence interval. It concerns your level of confidence that the actual mean will fall inside your margin of error. 90%, 95%, and 99% confidence intervals are the most often used ranges of confidence.

Standard Deviation:

You have to determine how much the feedback you receive will vary among themselves and from the average sum in this stage. In contrast to a lofty standard deviation, which demonstrates that the values are dispersed over a much larger spectrum with awfully small and extraordinarily large outlying figures, a small standard deviation specifies that all the responses will be grouped around the average digit. Since you have not still conducted your study, a conservative ruling that will help ensure that your sample size is enough is a standard deviation of 5.

Desired Accuracy:

A larger sample is required if we need more assurance regarding the conclusion drawn from the data. As a result, the sample size would be greater with a 99% safeguard than one with a 95% safeguard. A large sample is required if only a slight difference is anticipated and we need to be able to identify it.


The existence of resources like budget, materials, and labor is also kept in consideration. You can work on an enormous sample size if you have plenty of these resources available. It depends on the accuracy of the results you need. If you wish for highly accurate results, you need to elevate your budget. Further, you need to employ more equipment and ask for the assistance of more co-workers to work on a greater sample size. However, if you are short on these resources, you should target a smaller sample or the academic research will be too time-consuming.


The sample size you are going to pick depends greatly on the deadline or time available for your research. The sample size of a time-bound study is limited, as is frequently seen with dissertation work in postgraduate courses. Hence, you must consider the time available for your research and then decide on the sample size. The more time is available, the greater the sample size will be and vice versa.

Non-response Rate:

It has been highlighted that when discussing it, the term “valid replies” rather than “subjects” is used. In other words, the number of people who were chosen to take part in the study was not equal to the sample size that the researcher had. Instead, it is the percentage of survey participants that answered the questions correctly. In a survey research, the discrepancy between the two numbers is known as a non-response error.

The likelihood of a biased sample grows as the non-response rate increases. This is due to the possibility that the results of a probability sample are no longer representative of the intended population. The researcher should increase the required sample size by a specific percentage to account for non-response in an effort to collect adequate data for analysis. The survey subjects affect this percentage.

Strategies for Determining Sample Size:

Some of the best strategies that can help you to determine what the sample size for your academic research would be are given next:

  • Use an internet calculator.
  • Look for a similar study as yours and use it.
  • Use census for a small population.
  • Use mathematical formulas to calculate.


The difficulty exists when the sample size is small or large. The interpretation of big sample sizes complicates the research and has an impact on the numbers. It is therefore not advised to take larger samples. To get accurate results, a relatively good amount of samples should be collected. There are a few general guidelines that can be used to determine the sample size even if there is no set limit.

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