AbstractAn understanding of deformation behavior and texture development is crucial for the formability improvement of Mg alloys. X-ray line profile analysis using the convolutional multiple whole profile (CMWP) fitting method allows the experimental determination of dislocation densities separately for different Burgers vectors up to a high deformation degree. A wider use of this technique still requires exploration and testing of various materials. In this regard, the reliability of the CMWP fitting method for Mg–Zn–Y alloys, in terms of the dislocation activity during tensile deformation, was verified in the present study by the combined analysis of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) investigation and visco-plastic self-consistent (VPSC) simulation. The predominant activity of non-basal 〈a〉 dislocation slip was revealed by CMWP analysis, and Schmid factor analysis from the EBSD results supported the higher potential of non-basal dislocation slip in comparison with basal 〈a〉 dislocation slip. Moreover, the relative slip activities obtained by the VPSC simulation also show a similar trend to those obtained from the CMWP evaluation.