D.RA.MA: An Extended Conceptualization of Student Anxiety in Criminal Justice Research Methods Courses

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The challenges of teaching research methods and statistics to students majoring in criminology and criminal justice are well known. The professor has to deal with an array of obstacles among students, including Disinterest, Relevance Argumentation (viewing statistical skills as detached from the "real world") and Math Anxiety (D.RA.MA). This paper presents the development of an assessment scale to measure the levels of "D.RA.MA" experienced by students enrolled in research methods or statistics courses. The literature is vast on "math anxiety scales." However, trepidation on the part of criminal justice students who are anticipating their research methods and statistics courses may extend beyond math anxiety. Therefore, the traditional math anxiety scale was extended to include attempts at measuring Disinterest and Relevance Argumentation. Readers are provided with the D.RA.MA scale instrument and data from an assessment of 80 students in criminal justice courses. Assessing this broader student apprehension may serve as an important first step in making the necessary efforts to reduce student apprehension towards these classes.