Sample-size planning – a short video

Here’s a short talk I gave at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience meeting on sample size planning.  The talk discusses:

  • Why you should plan your sample sizes in advance
  • What not to do (how some common approaches can lead you astray)
  • What an effect size is and why it’s important to have a sense of effect sizes
  • How to plan a sample for power
  • Even better, how to plan a sample for precision
  • Resources to get you started (with the talk, script, and resources posted here:

All in 25 minutes.  Whew.  SFN taped the talk and made a fancy video.  Unfortunately, they made the video available only to members.  This is the copy I liberated from the SFN website.  Viva la revolucion.


I'm a teacher, researcher, and gadfly of neuroscience. My research interests are in the neural basis of learning and memory, the history of neuroscience, computational neuroscience, bibliometrics, and the philosophy of science. I teach courses in neuroscience, statistics, research methods, learning and memory, and happiness. In my spare time I'm usually tinkering with computers, writing programs, or playing ice hockey.

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