ERIC Number: ED477940
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Multifaceted Foci: The Antecedents of Statistics Anxiety and Negative Attitudes toward Statistics.
Watson, Freda S.; Kromrey, Jeffrey D.; Lang, Thomas; Hess, Melinda R.; Hogarty, Kristine Y.; Dedrick, Robert D.
The purpose of this study was to augment current knowledge regarding the antecedents of statistics anxiety and negative attitudes toward statistics among graduate students. The researchers also sought to investigate and identify promising methods for gathering and analyzing data in order to advance study in this emerging domain. Initially, 3 focus groups were planned for the 69 graduate students in 3 sections of an introductory statistics class, but many students were not able to participate in focus groups, and instead answered a questionnaire about statistics anxiety. Findings from the two focus groups and the student questionnaires were combined with student responses to two existing measures of statistics anxiety. Qualitative data affirmed the validity of much of the extant knowledge about statistics anxiety, but also disclosed new facets of knowledge, such as the importance of time management skills, and the identification of some previously undelineated factors. Among these is the fact that the availability of a dependable source with whom to compare answers reduces students anxiety and frustration. Embedded in these data are important hints for instructional design. The comparison of focus group and open-ended survey data suggests that focus groups provide a substantially richer substrate for the generation of fertile text. Written responses provided no themes that were not revealed in focus group transcripts. One appendix contains suggestions for conducting focus groups, and the other contains a reading list about mathematics and statistics anxiety. (Contains 7 figures, 7 tables, and 15 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).