Statistics is common in various undergraduate and graduate programs

Statistics is common in various undergraduate and graduate programs. The calculable skills that students’ study in a statistics course, apply to complete their research reports and these skills also help in their professional career development (Mandap, C.M., 2016). There is a sharp increase in demand for statistical methods in various fields such as education, health science, psychology, agriculture, and economics. However, statistics is one of the least favourite subjects of college students because of its mathematical nature. Several studies found most of the students face high anxiety while studying or engaging in a statistics course (Hsiao ; Chiang, 2011; Mji ;Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Perney ; Ravid (1990) found many students face anxiety while studying statistics because “it often sees statistics course as an obstacle that stands in their way of completing their degrees”. Williams, (2010) shows that a student with statistics anxiety feels discomfort while studying in classes, during exams, and computation of data in statistics. Hence, it leads to negativity in students’ performance in learning and studying. Baharun & Porter, (2009) suggested understanding the different levels of anxiety among students may help the teachers to overcome the statistics anxiety and also helps to improve the learning experienced by students.
The number of studies focused on a student’s feeling and attitude towards statistics and statistics anxiety is the most common problem towards students’ attitudes in a statistics course (Baloglu, 2003). Anxiety towards statistics is often found in students (traditional and non-traditional), also varies with different genders. Statistics anxiety is a multidimensional construct (Cruise, Cash & Bolton 1985; Cooney and Cherney, 2005). Cruise, Cash & Bolton (1985) found six components which contribute more towards statistics anxiety that are fear of asking help to others, fear of tutors, exams and class anxiety, self-calculations, and interpretation anxiety subscales. Cruise, Cash & Bolton (1985) also defined “statistics anxiety is the anxiety experienced by students while engaging in a statistics course or doing statistical analyses that are gathering, organising, and illuminating data”. The anxiety is designated by huge stress, worry, negative thoughts, disorganised, and psychological arousal when individuals exposed to statistics problems and content (Zeidner, 1991). Mji, & Onwuegbuzie, (2004) explained statistics anxiety as the feel of worry that individuals experience while studying in any statistics. Further, the statistics anxiety identified by Cherney and Cooney (2005) comprises a mathematical approach, statistics approach and approach of relevance field. Different researchers define statistics anxiety in different ways and definitions over time but the factors like psychological stress, worry, fear of academic failure and feelings of ineffectiveness always remained common in them (Finch & Jameson 2007 in text Eduljee, N. B., & LeBourdais, P. 2015).
There are so many researches showing the bond between statistics anxiety and attitude towards statistics with college students. DeVaney (2010) in a study of on-campus and online graduate students found an opposite relation between statistics and attitude towards it that is the students accessing online faced a high level of statistics anxiety and the low level in attitude towards statistics. Mills (2004) found the students who felt positive about doing great and being able to perform well in data analyses in the introductory method, showed the more favourable attitude towards statistics. Lacasse & Chiocchio (2005) in a survey of 68 students (54 females, 14 male) demonstrated a negative relationship between anxiety and attitudes towards statistics and they indicate that attitude towards statistics negatively influence performance, interest and learn statistics in psychometric study rooms. In addition, it seems that statistics anxiety and attitudes towards learning statistics range vary from positive to negative in different studies.
The precursors of statistics anxiety are arranged into three main factors in situational, environmental, and dispositional factors (Wilson and Onwuebguzie, 2003). The genders are mostly explored in environmental factors or factors related to the person. However, empirical studies showed variable results of different genders (males and females) in anxiety and attitude towards statistics. Baharun & Porter (2009) demonstrated females score higher level of anxiety than males, and found male are more confident about learning various aspects of statistics. Another study, by Papanastasiou & Zembylas (2008) found the same results in 472 undergraduate students (87%, females) in which males had a lower level of anxiety as compared to females. Furthermore, De’Cesare (2007) results also suggested that females score high level of anxiety than males. According to Eduljee and LeBourdais, (2015) gender differences were also found to vary with different types of statistics anxiety that is between course grades and statistics. On the contrary, other studies reported that there is no significant difference or change recorded in between two genders group (Evans,2007; Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Baloglu, 2003). Hence, the literature found the mixed results for gender difference in statistics anxiety among various undergraduate and graduate students, some researchers found that females face high level of anxiety in statistics and some others studies states there is no gender difference in felling anxiety towards statistics means both males and females score equal level of anxiety.
The main purpose of the present study is to find out the gender difference in statistics anxiety among undergraduate psychology students (Both International and Domestic students) who enrolled in introductory research methods course at University of South Australia (UNISA). The data was collected by University with the help of a survey to find out the anxiety and attitude level of undergraduate students. Additionally, the study also helps to find out how males and females differs in feeling towards statistics course. It also helps to find out the different dimensions of anxiety towards both genders which will be helpful to identify the specific situation in which students face anxiety which helps in learning, focusing and developing these situations may contribute to decrease the anxiety level for future students. Overall, this study focuses on which gender face higher anxiety while studying statistics and analysing data.