Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Robert Burns

Third Advisor

Sedique Popal


Compared with the research on vocabulary-learning strategies in the field of teaching English as a second or a foreign language, the research on the strategy use of Chinese-as-a-foreign-language (CFL) students, especially CFL students in an intensive-training setting, is scarce. The relationship between CFL students’ vocabulary-learning-strategy use and their learning outcomes remains underresearched. Therefore, this mixed-methods study was conducted to investigate the strategy use of CFL students in learning Chinese vocabulary words in an intensive language program and its relationship to students’ learning outcomes.

A total of 137 beginning to advanced students enrolled in the program participated in the study. The strategy use of the students was measured by a 50-item questionnaire, and students’ learning outcomes were measured by their end-of-semester II Proficiency Progress Test, which includes a listening and a reading test. Interviews with nine participants of different grade-point-averages (GPAs; high, middle, and low) were conducted to gain a better understanding of the strategy use for more-successful and less-successful students.

Descriptive data analysis revealed that the students in this study used 20 strategies commonly in their vocabulary learning. Of the 20 strategies, most of them were cognitive strategies and metacognitive strategies, and the majority of the commonly-used cognitive strategies were orthographic-knowledge-based strategies. The qualitative findings indicated that students with higher GPAs used more strategies and that certain patterns of strategy use differentiated more-successful students from less-successful students. Pearson product-moment correlation analyses revealed that several strategies involving learning and using vocabulary words in an authentic context had a positive and statistically significant association with students’ listening scores and reading scores, whereas several strategies focusing on decontextualized memorization of vocabulary words had a negative and statistically significant association with students’ listening scores. Two orthographic-knowledge-based strategies were found to be correlated positively with students’ reading scores.

The findings of the study suggest that orthographic-knowledge-based strategies and metacognitive strategies such as selective attention are essential for CFL students in vocabulary learning. Strategies involving learning and using Chinese vocabulary words in an authentic context are important for CFL students to develop higher language proficiency. Research and pedagogical implications are drawn based on the findings.