Investigating the Relationship Between Iranian EFL Learners’ Use of Strategies in Collocating Words and Their Proficiency Level

Document Type : Research Article


English Department, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


This study investigated the relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ use of strategies in producing English collocations and their proficiency level. Participants were 115 undergraduate university students at 3 proficiency levels, that is, low, intermediate, and high, majoring in English language at the Faculty of Letters and Humanties at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran. Their selection was based on their scores on a proficiency test (Oxford Quick Placement Test, OQPT). Participants’ knowledge of collocations and the strategies used were examined through a fill-in-the-blank and a translation test, both of which were accompanied by a self-report questionnaire. Findings showed that all the strategies in the self-report questionnaire were employed by the participants. However, retrieval, literal translation, and L2 common and delexicalized words were the most commonly employed strategies. Quantitative analysis of the data also revealed that the participants’ overall use of strategies in producing correct collocations was lower than their use of strategies in producing incorrect collocations. Results also showed that the participants in the 3 proficiency groups appeared to have adopted the same strategies and did not differ much in their total use of strategies. Nevertheless, there were differences among the 3 groups in producing correct collocations. These findings have immediate implications for EFL learners, teachers, and materials designers.


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