Strategy Use in Oral Communication with Competent Synthesis and Complex Interaction

Xinhua Zhu, Xian Liao, Choo Mui Cheong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Strategy use is a critical competence for academic achievement and problem solving in globalised and information-based knowledge economies. It involves skills such as synthesising information from task source materials and elaborating on interlocutors’ viewpoints during integrated group discussions. However, evidence from empirical studies on this topic is scarce. We recruited 171 local Hong Kong undergraduate students to participate in an integrated group discussion task in Putonghua as an L2 (i.e., second language) and to complete a strategy use inventory of the task. The students’ performances and responses were analysed with multiple statistical methods. The strategy use inventory of the integrated group discussion was validated. Five categories of strategy were identified: active engagement, non-verbal, synthesis, clarification and affective strategies. These strategies significantly predicted task performance (with 19.9% variation), leading to significant improvement in oral production quality. Both the synthesis (the integrative use of information) and active engagement (including elaborating viewpoints) strategies were significantly associated with task performance, which are rarely found in existing oral communication strategy inventories. The participants with high levels of task performance demonstrated significantly more use of the active engagement, clarification and synthesis strategies (with the first two merged in the complex interaction strategy) than those with medium or low task performance levels. The implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1183
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number5
Early online date4 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Integrated group discussion
  • L2
  • Putonghua
  • Strategy use
  • Undergraduate student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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