Brainduck’s Weblog
Psychology geek tries to explain a few things.

DORE talk discuss research critique

I’ve been having an interesting & rather heated discussion on the DORE forums (I’m ‘psyduck’) about the infamous Reynolds et al (2003) paper which caused resignations of 5 academics from the board of Dyslexia (several of whom are teaching me this year), & particularly the Bishop (2007) critique.

I thought I’d link to the whole discussion rather than turning it into a blog post, as there’s not much point in my doing a ramble through the paper as it’s been taken to bits many times over by people better-qualified than me, & I’ve had a few official replies, including from Wynford Dore himself. Feel free to register & jump in.

Important references here:

Dorothy VM Bishop (2007)
Curing dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder by training motor co-ordination: Miracle or myth?
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 43 (10), 653–655.

Reynolds D, Nicolson RI, Hambly H. Evaluation of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia 2003; 9: 48–71.

See also their follow-up:

Reynolds D, Nicolson RI. Follow-up of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia 2007; 13: 78–96.
EDIT – a lot of the relevant papers appear to be available without subscription here, including both Reynolds & Nicholson papers and some of the critiques. I’d strongly recommend reading some for yourself, particularly if you are wondering about whether to use DORE. Hooray, I hate paywalls, everybody should be able to see the evidence for themselves to make up their own minds. This makes me a Happy Duck.
The programme transcript looks interesting & would be useful as an introduction or if you would struggle with a pile of research papers – full programme looks to be available but my computer’s not up to video so can’t comment.

11 Responses to “DORE talk discuss research critique”

  1. It is really great to see people taking such great interest into Dore. I have been following your past two blog posts. The last was very detailed, and needed really add anything new to things that people may have already read.

    In each of your blogs, you seem to be ignoring the key facts that Dore had no control over the outcomes of this research paper. Due to the conditions set by the researchers. Dore have been willing to accept the consequences and will continue to do so.

    Dore have more research lined up, but in the meantime are doing all they can to help those who are struggling day in and day out.

    In your previous blog – you manipulated the truth in cetain areas… For example you say …’have not been so keen on Dr Rutherford since he called of my lecturers a ‘very aggressive lady’ … without actually having met her’. The artical you cite actually makes it clear that Rutherford has never met her. I am sure that people who have all the time in world to analyse every line they to would find many more inaccurancies.

    For people who do come to the forum to join in with the ‘research critique’ it would be wonderful to hear something new and not just a reiteration or paraphrased claim from someone else who is more inclined to believe that phonics works.

    I think it is truely inspirational that so many people are drawn to researching more about dyslexia and other related problems. However on the other hand it is completely depressing and demoralising that there are so many passionate people that seem to refuse to work together. After all it is the people who are affected that are the most important and not the constant political debates between researchers.

  2. Rose,

    Can you clarify again when you completed your degree?


  3. vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests vested interests

  4. Tom – does ‘vested interests’ refer to me or to Rose? Could you perhaps explain what you mean a bit more? As a broke undergrad (Final year, since you ask), I’d love to be in the pay of the ‘reading industry’. Alas, I’m still living on beans on toast. Donations welcome, then I could afford nicer beans & posh toast!

    If DORE worked as well as its marketing claims, I’d be delighted – it would really help a lot of people I care about. It would also be a really interesting area to go & research if I wanted to do that once I graduate. I don’t stand to gain or lose by the results of any studies. However, I don’t think that misreporting research helps anybody. It misleads concerned carers, means that people with SpLDs don’t get the best possible treatment, & messes up the public understanding of psychology.

    Rose – thanks. Are you Rosem on the DORE forums? ‘and needed really add anything new’ – Sorry, I suspect you may have been distracted typing? My post previous to this was about homeopathy not DORE, & the previous DORE post was about unpublished research which AFAIK has not been reviewed elsewhere & has since been pulled (wonder why?).

    I am worried by the way that DORE misrepresent research in their publicity. The Reynolds & Nicholson paper was not carried out on children with dyslexia – indeed, some weren’t even at risk on a dyslexia screening test, and the large disparity between the screening tests & other measures of reading suggests that at least one of the two cannot have been valid. The follow-up research (Reynolds & Nicholson, 2006) is very explicit in its introduction that they *cannot tell* whether results are specifically due to DORE. Such caveats & difficulties should go along with the presentation of research to prospective service users & carers, to allow them to make an informed choice.

    DORE have not, to my knowledge, produced robust research comparing outcomes in people with a diagnosis of dyslexia using DORE compared to other interventions or no intervention. If you’d like to post something that you think shows this, please do & I will review it carefully. DORE claim to be evidence-based & ‘scientific’. However, they make claims which are not supported by solid evidence. With >£5m spent on research, & maybe hundreds of thousands of people having been treated, it is strange that there is as yet no robust evidence of efficacy for DORE. Again, you may disagree with this statement, in which case please point me to the relevant studies.

    Real outcomes in real people are the most important information about any treatment – otherwise you are doing the equivalent of looking at lab results on drugs curing cancer in petri dishes – which is quite easy to do, it’s showing that things actually work well in patients which is the difficult bit, & where a lot of theoretically promising ideas fail.

    I might do a review looking at the underlying science of DORE when I get round to it, but for now I’m just looking at evidence of efficacy. However, given that DORE don’t publish details of what they do, due to it being ‘commercially sensitive’ this is difficult. I do not think that it is ethical nor in the best interests of people with SpLDs to provide an expensive treatment which cannot be fully peer-reviewed.

    Saying that I ‘manipulated the truth’ is a strong claim. I don’t see how what I said is anything other than completely true, and the newspaper article I linked to gave further information on this. If you want to pick me up on ‘inaccuracies’ I’d welcome it & will make appropriate corrections – after all, I am just an undergrad writing this as a hobby.

    Poor-quality research is unfair to the research participants, and to people who might need to make choices about treatment. Critiquing research is not ‘refusing to work together’, it’s looking at the research, what it shows, & how to make it better. Personally I’d jump at the chance for a proper head-to-head trial of several approaches to particular SpLDs, which could show more clearly what works best & perhaps also for which subgroups. I’ve written to the Welsh Assembly Government to suggest this as part of their dyslexia review, though unfortunately I don’t see them taking too much notice of a humble undergrad.

    I haven’t mentioned phonics anywhere, as far as I can remember & a blog search shows. I’m actually more interested in working memory.

    I agree that ‘political debates’ shouldn’t be the issue – finding the best treatment & making it better should be. That’s why it is important to really scrutinise all the research, to make sure that every study is as good as it can possibly be, and to argue with evidence not lawyers. We need more & better research for more & better answers. That’s why I get so angry about flawed or misrepresented research. At best it’s a distraction & a waste of the participant’s time & commitment, at worst it misleads further study & leads to misinformed decisions. Too right I shouldn’t be picking papers apart – I shouldn’t be able to.

  5. No, not you duck, I just get a little tired of hearing the ‘vested interests’ response from the dore people. Its seems to be thier only attempt at an excuse about the masses of studies refuting the con.

  6. Tom – yes. & like everything else they keep coming up with, it really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
    I’ve asked them to argue with the research, & all I seem to get is emotional responses which don’t actually explain the major flaws in the research or come up with anything better. Fair enough, most parents won’t be specialists in EdPsych, & nor should they have to be – that’s why clear & adequate research is so important. But I’d expect better from people who have actually chosen to work for them.

  7. Hi duck

    yes this is rosem,

    it is interesting for me that you write ‘i am just an undergrad writing this as a hobby’ it is very clear to me that you are incredibly passionate about this subject. I am too! (here i am on a sunday evening!!)

    I can understand and agree with your points, that sound research is critically important. Like you say thousands of people have been helped by what Dore do. so surely that is evidence in itself?

    I think I may regret adding that I am not a researcher, yes I did my dissertation at university but I have to be honest I am far from an expert. I am really interested in helping those that are struggling – yes I am giving you emotional responses because I know what it is like – as you do!

    Apologies for the typeo on my previous post – it had been a very busy weekend! It was suppose to read ‘didn’t really add anything new’. the blog i was referring to was ‘why are dore so bad at research’.

    As written before dore had no control over the outcomes nor the design of the study. what are you doing your dissertation on? if you dont mind me asking?

    I am sorry if my responses don’t meet up to your expectations – but being a complete expert on research design isn’t what is most important to me – it is helping people who need help

    Tom – I graduated last July (2007) why do you ask? are you tom houser from the being dyslexic forum? and houser from parents’ centre by any chance?

    Hope the weekend’s treated you well

  8. […] brainduck has an excellent examination of some of the problems of Dore’s research here and here while Ben Goldacre has covered it here. Dore research has been so flawed that their attempts to woo […]

  9. […] a formal dyslexia diagnosis and 12 matched controls, so it’s not so hard to do). I’ve blogged Balsall Common and discussed it on DOREtalk. I’ve also discussed several pieces of unpublished DORE […]

  10. […] More on Dore research. […]

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