Evidence use

Guided play: the problems with the research

Writing for the Tes, I highlight some issues with a recent systematic review about the impact of guided play.

Although the review has many strengths, there are three issues that limit what we can conclude from it.

First, the underying studies are poor, and not much is done to account for this issue.

Second, the definitions used for free play, guided play, and direct instruction are muddled, including the aggregation of business-as-usual with direct instruction. This threatens the research team’s conclusions.

Third, using just 17 studies, the team conduct 12 separate meta-analyses. On closer inspection, the way that the studies are combined is even more questionable.