The Relationship between Iranian EFL Learners’ Autonomy and their Vocabulary Learning Strategies with a Focus on Gender

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ use of vocabulary learning strategies and their autonomy with a focus on the gender. To meet this objective, 82(39 males and 43 females) sophomore and junior students majoring in English Language Teaching who had passed at least 45 credits at Tabriz Azad University, in Iran were asked to take part in the study by filling the questionnaires on learner autonomy (LAQ) and vocabulary learning strategies (VLSQ). After discarding incomplete questionnaires, 70 acceptable cases were used in the statistical analysis. Correlation analysis indicated a statistically significant and positive relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ use of vocabulary learning strategies and their autonomy for both male and female students. The findings can have some pedagogical implications for teachers. 


Azimi M.,Abadi, E., & Baradaran, A. (2013).The relationship between learner autonomy and vocabulary learning strategies in Iranian EFL learners with different language proficiency level. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 2(3), 176-185.
Bennett, P. (2006). An evaluation of vocabulary teaching in an intensive study program (Master’s thesis). University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Benson, P. (2003). Learner autonomy in the classroom. In D. Nunan (Ed.), Practical English language teaching (pp. 289 - 308). PRC: Higher Education Press.
Benson, P. (2007). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40(1), 21- 40.
Blachowicz, C. L. Z., & Fisher, P. (2000).Vocabulary instruction. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 503-523). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Candy, P. C. (1991). Self-direction for lifelong learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Catalan, R. (2003). Sex differences in L2 vocabulary learning strategies. Applied Linguistics, 13(1), 54-77.doi: 10.1111/1473-4192.00037
Chang, S. (1990).A study of language learning behaviors of Chinese learners at the University of Georgia and the relation of those behaviors to oral proficiency and other factors (Doctoral dissertation).Athens, University of Georgia.
Decarrico, J. S. (2001). Vocabulary learning and teaching. In M. Celce-Murcia (Ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp. 285-299). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
Dickinson, L. (1987). Self-instruction in language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dickinson, L. (1992). Learner autonomy 2: Learner training for language learning. Dublin: Authentik.
Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1972).Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers.
Gu, Y., & Johnson, R. K. (1996). Vocabulary language learning and language learning outcome.Language Learning, 46(4), 643-679.
Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.
Little, D. (1991).Learner autonomy: definitions, issues and problems. Dublin: Authentic.
Little, D. (1995). Learning as dialogue: The dependence of learner autonomy on teacher autonomy. System, 23(2), 175-182. doi: 0.1016/0346-251X(95)00006-6
Little, D. (2008).Knowledge about language and learner autonomy. In J. Cenoz& N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Language and education: Knowledge about language (pp. 247–258). New York: Springer Science.
Naraghi, S., & Seyyedrezaei, H. (2015).A comparative study on vocabulary learning strategies and learner autonomy in intermediate and elementary EFL learners. Journal of Current Research in Science, 3(1), 92-95.
Nation, I. S. P. (2001).Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge, England: 
Cambridge University Press.
Nation, I. S. P., &Meara, P. (2002).Vocabulary. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), An introduction to applied Linguistics(pp. 35-54). London: Arnold.
Nosratinia, M., Abbasi, M., & Zaker, A. (2015). Promoting second language learners’ vocabulary learning strategies: Can autonomy and critical thinking make a contribution? International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 4(3), 21-30. doi:10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.3p.21
O’Donnell, A., Reeve, J., & Smith, J. (2012).  Educational psychology: Reflection for action (3rded.).  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
O’Malley, J. M., &  Chamot, A. U. (1990).Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Scharle, A., & Szabo, A. (2000).Learner autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shawwa,W. K. (n.d.). Enhancing learner autonomy in vocabulary learning: How and why? Retrieved from:
Spratt, M., Humphreys, G., & Chan, V. (2002). Autonomy and motivation: which comes first? Language Teaching Research, 6(3), 245-266. Retrieved on Sep. 25, 2015 from
Varola, B., &Yilmaz, S. (2010). Similarities and differences between female and male learners: Inside and outside class autonomous language learning activities. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3(1), 237–244.
Xhaferi, B., & Xhaferi, G. (2010).Developing learner autonomy in higher education in Macedonia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 11, 150–154.