Whilst meta-analysis is a potentially powerful tool, it’s not without its limitations. A good summary of some of the general issues with meta-analysis can be found here.
Within education, meta-analysis has recently become a highly prominent tool. John Hattie’s work is probably the best known; though all draw upon the idea that by examining the effect sizes across a number of studies we can provide a summary of ‘what works’ within education. There’s little doubt that the methodology is here to stay; if medicine is anything to go by, its use will become more common over time. However, we should treat the results of meta-analysis with a healthy dose of professional scepticism.
Indeed, something of that scepticism is already starting to filter into the debate. Most notably, perhaps, Dylan Wiliams identifies a number of issues with Hattie’s analysis that are worth keeping in mind. There’s some good exploration…
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