Esp - Need Analysis

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English for Specific Purposes world, Issue 4, 2008, www.esp-world.info Introduction to Needs Analysis. Mehdi Haseli Songhori

Introduction to Needs Analysis

By: Mehdi Haseli Songhori

Mehdi Haseli Songhori is an MA graduate in TEFL from Shahi Bahonar University of Kerman. He is currently teaching English courses at Azad University of Baft, Kerman. m_haselisonghori@yahoo.comEmail address:

Spring 2007

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English for Specific Purposes world, Issue 4, 2008, www.esp-world.info Introduction to Needs Analysis. Mehdi Haseli Songhori

Introduction

Needs analysis (also known as needs assessment) has a vital role in the process of designing and carrying out any language course, whether it be English for Specific Purposes (ESP) or general English course, and its centrality has been acknowledged by several scholars and authors (Munby, 1978; Richterich and Chancerel, 1987; Hutchinson and Waters, 1987; Berwick, 1989; Brindley, 1989; Tarone and Yule, 1989; Robinson, 1991; Johns, 1991; West, 1994; Allison et al. (1994); Seedhouse, 1995; Jordan, 1997; Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998; Iwai et al. 1999; HampLyons, 2001; Finney, 2002). Also, the importance of carrying out a needs analysis for developing EAP tests is emphasized by Fulcher (1999), McDonough (1984), and Carrol (1980, cited in Fulcher, 1999) According to Iwai et al. (1999), the term needs analysis generally refers to the activities that are involved in collecting information that will serve as the basis for developing a curriculum that will meet the needs of a particular group of students. Brindley (1989) and Berwick (1989) offer definitions of different types of needs and accounts of various problems and limitations in making use of this concept, including ways in which we might usefully distinguish between needs identified by analysts and those expressed or experienced by learners. In his state-of-the-art article, West (1994) gives a thorough overview of needs analysis in language teaching, including its history, theoretical basis, approaches to needs analysis, etc.

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English for Specific Purposes world, Issue 4, 2008, www.esp-world.info Introduction to Needs Analysis. Mehdi Haseli Songhori

According to Iwai et al. (1999), formal needs analysis is relatively new to the field of language teaching. However, informal needs analyses have been conducted by teachers in order to assess what language points their students needed to master. In fact, the reason why different approaches were born and then replaced by others is that teachers have intended to meet the needs of their students during their learning. From the field of language teaching the focus of this paper will be on ESP. Clearly, the role of needs analysis in any ESP course is indisputable. For Johns (1991), needs analysis is the first step in course design and it provides validity and relevancy for all subsequent course design activities. Though needs analysis, as we know it today, has gone through many stages, with the publication of Munby's Communicative Syllabus Design in 1978, situations and functions were set within the frame of needs analysis. In his book, Munby introduced 'communication needs processor' which is the basis of Munby's approach to needs analysis. Based on Munby's work, Chambers (1980) introduced the term Target Situation Analysis. Form that time several other terms have also been introduced: Present Situation Analysis, Pedagogic Needs Analysis, Deficiency Analysis, Strategy Analysis or Learning Needs Analysis, Means Analysis, Register analysis, Discourse analysis, and Genre Analysis. This article attempts to present an overview of the aforementioned approaches to needs analysis.

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English for Specific Purposes world, Issue 4, 2008, www.esp-world.info Introduction to Needs Analysis. Mehdi Haseli Songhori

Target Situation Analysis (TSA) Needs analysis was firmly established in the mid-1970s (West, 1998). In the earlier periods needs analysis was mainly concerned...
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