Utilizing mixed methods in teaching environments to reduce statistics anxiety

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Many students deem statistics courses to be the most difficult in their programs of study, providing mostly negative experiences characterized by high levels of anxiety. Recent research on statistics anxiety has identified several teacher characteristics that help reduce students’ statistics anxiety levels. However, little attention has been placed on the role that the research-based curriculum plays in reducing anxiety levels. Thus, the present paper introduces a curricular framework for alleviating students’ negative feelings towards statistics. Building on the works of Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2004, 2005a), we contend that the best way to accomplish this is by eliminating statistics courses from curricula and replacing these with research methodology courses at different levels that simultaneously teach students both quantitative and qualitative techniques within a mixed methodological framework. We illustrate how quantitative and qualitative research courses can be re-designed as courses in exploratory and confirmatory techniques that teach quantitative and qualitative methodologies within each course, either simultaneously or sequentially.