Building An Updated Version of The OZI-SF Project at WSU

By Jeff (Xingyong) Wang


Parents are the experts when it comes to their child’s communication development. Asking parents to report on which words their child speaks and/or understands has been demonstrated as a reliable approach to measure communication development in children under 3 years of age.

The Australian English Communicative Development Inventory, or OZI (pronounced OZ-eye), serves as a checklist for parents to assess their children’s communication skills. It is an adaptation of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory. 

Professor Caroline Jones and her team from the MARCS Institute of Western Sydney University have developed a short form of the OZI, called the OZI-SF. Designed for parents of Australian children aged 12-30 months, this streamlined checklist encompasses 12 gestures and 6 interactive activities or routines, providing a means to measure early non-verbal communication abilities.


In its initial phase, the OZI-SF survey form was created and delivered through Qualtrics, and only included English as the primary language that parents use to communicate with their child. However, it holds great significance to include words from all languages, as young children have the capacity to learn vocabulary from various linguistic sources. Recognising this, Professor Jones reached out to Jeff Wang, Intersect’s Digital Research Analyst, seeking advice and assistance with re-designing the questionnaire to elevate its effectiveness.


Following discussions with Caroline, Jeff suggested using REDCap for this study. REDCap is a well-established and secure web application designed for building and managing online surveys and databases. As the WSU research team was relatively new to REDCap, Jeff was able to offer guidance and recommendations on redesigning the questionnaire using REDCap. With help from WSU ITDS, Jeff successfully managed to host the requisite image files in a secure and publicly accessible data repository, which was an important part of the project. 

Leveraging the Data Dictionary functionality in REDCap, along with Visual Basic programming in Excel, Jeff was to provide the research team valuable assistance in constructing an extensive survey form with over 100 questions. Notably, the entire project had more than 1600 fields.


This updated version of the OZI-SF project has been met with positive feedback. Jeff continues to work with the research team to provide ongoing support to the project’s advancement. Ultimately, Jeff’s contribution to the project has been substantial, as expressed by Professor Caroline Jones:

 “Jeff really helped us get off the ground with this project, and we literally couldn’t have done it without him, given all the other demands on our time. It’s really great to know we can turn to Jeff when we have ongoing questions about how we can improve the tool.

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