Optimal sample sizes for the design of reliability studies: Power consideration

Gwowen Shieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Intraclass correlation coefficients are used extensively to measure the reliability or degree of resemblance among group members in multilevel research. This study concerns the problem of the necessary sample size to ensure adequate statistical power for hypothesis tests concerning the intraclass correlation coefficient in the one-way random-effects model. In view of the incomplete and problematic numerical results in the literature, the approximate sample size formula constructed from Fisher's transformation is reevaluated and compared with an exact approach across a wide range of model configurations. These comprehensive examinations showed that the Fisher transformation method is appropriate only under limited circumstances, and therefore it is not recommended as a general method in practice. For advance design planning of reliability studies, the exact sample size procedures are fully described and illustrated for various allocation and cost schemes. Corresponding computer programs are also developed to implement the suggested algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-785
Number of pages14
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Intraclass correlation coefficient
  • Optimal design
  • Power
  • Reliability
  • Sample size

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