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Rattanapinyowong et al.

(1988) investigated the English language academic needs of healthcare

students at Mahidol University, Bangkok. Questionnaires were administered to 351 students of
nursing and related fields. In addition, interviews were conducted with teachers in a number of
departments of the university. The data collected were analyzed in order to identify the English
language needs of the students. The study concluded that fewer academic needs were expressed
than expected. Both the students and teachers stressed the need for English courses designed for
specific healthcare professions.
Rattanapinyowong, W., Vajanabukka, R. & Rungruangsri, P. (1988) A Study of the
Academic English Needs of Medical Students PASAA, 18(1): 32-39.

Elkilic (1994) conducted a similar NA study, attempting to identify the English language needs
of medical students at Selcuk University in Turkey. The participants were students, English
language teachers and subject specialists; the method of data collection was via questionnaires.
The findings indicated that students regarded reading as the most important skill and listening as
the second most important for them. They stated that reading was important in order to be able to
understand reports, magazines and scholarly journals, and to translate materials from English
into Turkish.
Elkilic, G. (1994) An Analysis of the English Language Needs of Veterinary Medicine
Students at Selcuk University Unpublished Master Dissertation, Bilkent University, Turkey.

Chia et al. (1999) tried to identify and describe the perceptions of medical college students and
faculty members regarding the English language needs of the students. The setting of their NA
study was Chung Shan Medical College in Taichung, Taiwan. Using the questionnaire technique,
they sampled 349 medical students and 20 faculty members. The study focused on investigating
the importance of English language use in students studies and their target careers, as well as the
basic English skills needed in a first-year English course. It was found that English language was
perceived as important for students academic studies and their future work. Besides, students
expressed the need for a basic English language course at the first-year level, naming listening as
the most important skill to improve. Both the students and staff also considered more than one
year of English language study to be desirable.
Chia, H., Johnson, R., Chia, H. & Olive, F. (1999) English for College Students in Taiwan:
A Study of Perceptions of English Needs in a Medical Context English for Specific
Purposes, 18(2):107119.

Bosher and Smalkoski (2002) carried out an NA study in order to investigate why many of the
learners of English as a second language studying nursing were not succeeding academically.
Methods used for gathering data on the needs of the students were questionnaires, interviews and
observation. The results showed that communicating with clients and work colleagues in the
clinical setting was considered the greatest difficulty. The researchers developed a course, called

Speaking and Listening in a Health-care Setting, to respond to what was identified as students
area of greatest difficulty. The course content was divided into four units: assertiveness skills,
therapeutic communication, information-gathering techniques, and the role of culture in
healthcare communication. Various methods and materials for developing healthcare
communication skills were used to help the students to communicate effectively in the clinical
Bosher, S. & Smalkoski, K. (2002) From Needs Analysis to Curriculum Development:
Designing a Course in Health-care Communication for Immigrant Students in the USA
English for Specific Purposes, 21(1): 59-79.

At the College of Health, Education and Human Development at Clemson University, United
States, Lepetit and Cichocki (2002) conducted an NA of 165 university students who were
preparing to work as healthcare professionals. They first carried out a small number of
interviews, using the information gathered to formulate a questionnaire, which they then
administered to the students. They found that students attached greater importance to oral
communicative skills (speaking, asking, telling stories, etc.) than to writing and gave greater
weight to written communicative skills than to literature. Students also recognized the
importance of learning language in an authentic context that provided opportunities for face-toface contact with native speakers.
Lepetit, D. & Cichocki, W. (2002) Teaching Languages to Future Health Professionals: A
Needs Assessment Study The Modern Language Journal, 86(3): 384-396.

Using a questionnaire survey, Lombardo (1988) investigated the needs and attitudes towards
learning English of 200 students in the School of Economics of an Italian university. A parallel
questionnaire was also given to 51 non-language members of the teaching staff. The survey
found that students were motivated to learn English in order to improve their chances of
employment. The activities most needed to succeed in their field were understanding oral reports
and reading professional materials. It was also found that listening skills were the most
important, followed by speaking, reading and writing. Both students and teachers viewed
technical terminology as the greatest source of problem for students in reading in English.
Lombardo, L. (1988) Language Learners Needs, Interests and Motivation: A Survey of EFL
Students in an Italian Economics Faculty. Rome: Centro Informazione Stampa University.

Jafre-Bin-Zainol-Abidin (1992) attempted to identify the English language needs of science

students enrolled in an English course for business purposes at the University of Malaysia. The
researcher administered a questionnaire to the students and to personnel managers and
employees of a number of companies in Malaysia. Reading was found to be the most important
skill from the point of view of students, while listening and speaking were more important from
the point of view of employees. It was recommended that university courses should consider

students needs, that reading skills should be given more emphasis in academic studies and that
students should take part in identifying study texts.
Jafre-Bin-Zainol-Abidin, M. (1992) The English Language Needs of Students at the Science
University of Malaysia. England: Keele University.

Alagozlu (1994) investigated the English language needs of students at the Faculty of Medicine
in Cumhuriyet University, Turkey. He interrogated three different sources, viz. students, teachers
and administrators, by means of two data collection methods: questionnaire and interview. The
results indicated that reading and translation were the language skills most needed by the
students. Significant differences were also found among the perceptions of students, teachers and
administrators regarding students needs. In addition, it was found that most of the informants
were dissatisfied, to some extent, with the current English language curriculum and that it did not
fulfil the needs of the students.
Alagozlu, N. (1994) English Language Needs Assessment of the Students of the Medical
Faculty of Cumhuriyet University Unpublished Master Dissertation, Bilkent University,

Chan (2001) carried out a large-scale NA study to identify the English language needs of
students of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong. The objectives of the study were to
determine students perceptions of their needs and wants, to measure their ratings of their own
competence in their academic and professional domains and to compare the extent to which their
opinions matched those of their English language teachers. Using a questionnaire survey, Chan
sampled 701 tertiary learners and 47 English language teachers at the university. The results
showed that there was consistency of response between students and teachers. The activities
perceived as the most important for academic studies were reading magazines and periodicals
and speaking at seminars and meetings, while those seen as the most important for future
professions were listening and speaking at conferences and listening on the telephone. The study
also found that a major concern for both students and teachers was improving the ability to
communicate orally for academic and professional purposes.
Chan,V. (2001) Determining Students Language Needs in a Tertiary Setting English
Teaching Forum, 39 (3): 16-27.

Suwanla-Ong (1999) investigated a needs analysis of English language use and language
problems of DPST (The Development and Promotion of Science and Technology Talented
Project) students who were studying abroad in an academic environment. The instrument used in
collecting data was a questionnaire. The participants consisted of 22 DPST postgraduate
students, studying for Masters and Doctoral degrees in universities or colleges in England and
the United States of America. The results showed that reading and listening skills were more
often used and considered more important than speaking and writing skills for both students who

studied in the UK and the USA. Listening skills were used with friends most, followed by use of
tapes and video, while speaking skills were usually used with friends and for oral presentations.
Participants read textbooks most for reading skills and wrote their assignment and projects for
writing skills. Regarding language problems, both students in the UK and the USA had the same
problems with each skill except writing. The main problem of listening skills were speaking fast
and speaking with different accents by native and non-native English speakers, and knowing few
vocabulary and technical words. Then, incorrect pronunciation, incorrect grammatical usage,
vocabulary shortage, and lack of confidence were the problems with speaking skills. Concerning
reading problems, students read slowly, and had a shortage of vocabulary words including
technical words. Finally, writing skills, the main problem was poor grammar usage. The USA
students experienced a lack of knowledge of forms or patterns to write some documents, and a
lack of knowledge of how to write those documents appropriately. On the other hand, The UK
students experienced the problem of a shortage of vocabulary. The findings of this study was
useful for the DPST project supervisor to prepare the students to improve English, which was
essential for studying abroad.
Charoenpitakchai (2005) explored a study of Chinese language needs of Mathayom 5 students in
Bangkok. The purpose of this study was to investigate the language that Thai students in
Mathayom 5 needed to learn most, examine the skills which was most needed and determine the
preferences of learning Chinese language through teaching style. Data was collected by using a
questionnaire given to 175 students who were studying at Mathayom 5 from a government
school in the Pathumwan district, and from a private school in the Thonburi district. The findings
showed that most students needed to learn Chinese in the future and believed that Chinese
language (Mandarin) was important for their business or careers in future. They tended to need
speaking and listening skills more than reading and writing skills. According to teaching style,
most of the students preferred to learn Chinese language (Mandarin) with both Chinese and Thai
teachers because they could practice learning proper accent and pronunciation with native
speakers and discuss grammar if they could not understand in some points
Rithichai (1999) examined the English skills most needed by MBA/MBE students (Special
Programmes), at the National Institute of Development Administration; the students needs for
English Training course. The subjects for this study were 223 students which consist of 119
MBA students who were studying in Class 7 and Class 8, and 104 MBE students who were
studying in Class 10 and Class 11. The instrument used was a questionnaire. The finding showed
that most participants agreed that English was important for their job and perceived English
skills as a key factor in performing their tasks and their career advancement. They faced
problems with speaking skills most, followed by listening, writing, and reading, respectively.
They also were interested in attending an English training course because it would help them
perform their job successfully and would enable them to get ahead in their career.
Boonyodom (2005) identified the needs of English language use and problems of office workers
at a Thai Company. The researcher investigated which English skills and sub-skills the officer
workers need most, the problems that office workers encounter while using English in their job,
and their attitudes toward the English training courses. The participants of the study were 100

office workers of Lohakij Rung Chareon Co., Ltd. Questionnaires were employed for collecting
data. The study indicated that the majority of office workers believed that English was
moderately important for their present job. In addition, reading skills were the most needed skills
for them and frequently used in their routine job. On the other hand, speaking was the biggest
problem, followed by listening and writing skills, respectively. Moreover, all respondents were
interested in attending English training courses provided by the company because the training
courses would help them to improve their English and communication skills and apply these
skills to their work.
Li So-mui and Mead (2000) investigated the workplace English needs of textile and clothing
merchandisers who were involved in frequent communication in the international marketplace.
Questionnaire surveys, telephone interviews, analysis of authentic correspondence and visits to
the workplace were used as instruments for this study. The subjects of the study were 360
participants who graduated from two Hong Kong institutions and had been working as
merchandisers for at least one year. The findings showed that English language was the
international language of business which was used by the Hong Kong merchandisers in their
communications. Participants used written English most of time while they rarely used spoken
English in the workplace. Then, faxes were rated as the most common channel of
communication, followed closely by the telephone for this study. As a result, the detailed
investigation into the use of English in the workplace of textile and clothing merchandisers had
enabled the course designers and the developers of teaching and learning materials to provide
more specifically focused English courses.
Tajino, James and Kijima (2005) analysed beyond needs analysis: soft systems methodology for
meaningful collaboration in EAP course design. The initial focus of needs analysis was syllabus
specification. According to Hamp-Lyons (2001), EAP (English for Academic Purposes) begins
with the learner and the situation, whereas general English begins with the language, A good
starting point for an EAP course is an understanding of students needs. The researcher discussed
the use of soft systems methodology (SSM), an action research methodology primarily used in a
business context, as a way to accommodate disparate elements within a decision-making process
as it might apply to EAP course design. The results indicated that designing an EAP course was a
complex process. While accepting the claim that an analysis of students needs is essential,
reality suggests that a diversity of views and perspectives in order to achieve maximum support
and cooperation from factors involved with the course are considered.
Cowling (2007) described the needs analysis stage in the development of a set of English
language materials for an intensive course at a large Japanese company (Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries). The requirement was for a business English communication course to run for three
days, three times a year, over a period of three years, which setting an intensive course package
for its 1-3 year employees. A multiple sources/methods approach and a triangulation of findings
were instruments for this study. The results of this study showed that the intensive syllabus was
required to do four things: 1) provide nine areas of study (one area for each intensive course) that
would be helpful to the students in their working lives. 2) provide a communicative course where

students could adapt their current general English knowledge into business situations. 3) provide
a course that took into consideration cultural issues when communicating with foreign
businesspeople. 4) provide realistic (authentic) examples of language. From this study, needs
analysis set out to fulfil the conditions laid out by the clients as well as to provide English
training for the students which would be useful for their business workings.
Akyel and Ozek (2010) investigated a language needs analysis research at an English medium
university in Turkey. A triangulation research method was implemented with two different
instruments: semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were used in this study. Firstly, the
participants of questionnaires were distributed to 2,328 students in the 1st, 2nd, 3.rd and 4th
years of 6 different departments of 5 undergraduate schools and 1 graduate school of the
university, and with 125 lectures who were randomly selected from different departments in
those schools. Secondly, the participants for the semi-structured interviews were also selected
randomly. Fourteen university instructors working at various faculties and institutions of the
university, and 9 students at different undergraduate and graduate schools participated to the
interviews. The results of the investigation indicated that the need for encouragement of the
students to use effective learning strategies in an English language education programme of the
Prep school. For this purpose, the programme needed to foreground the application of different
strategies and skills during the learning process, and the qualifications and competencies of the
instructors in the implementation of the necessary instruction. Furthermore, the results indicated
that there was no discrimination between teaching or testing in teaching materials and methods.
Another finding of the interviews indicated that the teaching methods and materials should be
process oriented. In addition, both the university instructors and students pointed out that
students should be given ample practice in reading and writing for their academic studies. Also,
students had great difficulties in speaking English particularly during the first two years of
undergraduate programmes.
Enginarlar (1982) conducted a needs assessment study at Middle East
Technical University in order to identify the academic needs and lacks of the
freshman students studying at social science based departments. Their needs in
writing was tried to be revealed. Freshmen students and instructors of different
social science based departments participated in the study. Students were given
comprehensive questionnaires, whereas the instructors were interviewed.
Students written productions and exam papers were examined as well. The
of activities required in writing and the difficulties students encountered related
writing skill were revealed. The effectiveness of the program at the Preparatory
School was evaluated and an important degree of discrepancy between the
students needs when writing and the writing instruction provided in the
preparatory school was identified. Recommendations for syllabus design of the
writing component of the instruction at the Preparatory School were made.
Elkl (1994) carried out a needs assessment study in order to determine

the English language needs of the students in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
at Seluk University. Students, subject specialists and English instructors were
given questionnaires. The results revealed that students considered reading skill
the most important. Listening came up to be the second important skill for the
students of Veterinary Medicine. The students, subject specialists and English
language instructors stated that reading was important in order to be able to
understand scholarly journals, magazines and reports as well as to translate
materials from English into Turkish. Based on these results, recommendations
were put forward by the researcher aiming at improving the existing English
language curriculum at Seluk University.
Alagzl (1994), in his study, revealed the English language skill needs of
fourth year Medical students at the Faculty of Medicine in Cumhuriyet University.
Students, teachers and administrators were data collection sources. Their
perceptions regarding students learning needs were identified. Questionnaire
interview were data collection instruments. According to the study, reading and
translation came up to be the most required language skills for that group of
students due to the fact that they needed to deal with a great number of
readings which were available only in English. The results showed that
there were differences among the perceptions of teachers, students and
administrators with respect to students needs. The already existing curriculum
did not fulfill the needs of the students. Recommendations for the improvement
the curriculum were put forward.
Ba_trkmen (1998) carried out a needs assessment study in the College of
Petroleum Engineering at Kuwait University to assess the communicative
language needs of the students. She collected data from instructors and
via structured questionnaires. Classroom observations and examinations of
student materials and samples were other tools of data collection. Perceptions of
the students and instructors regarding the importance of language skills were
different. Students considered listening as more difficult than speaking, reading
and writing. However, the instructors considered the four skills as of the same
level of difficulty. The results of the study were used in revising the English
I_k (2002) conducted a needs assessment study at Ba_kent University with
International Relations and Political Science students in order to find out their
needs with respect to writing skill. Students, English instructors, departmental
instructors, professionals and administrators took part in the study. The data
collection tools were questionnaire for students, structured interview with
departmental instructors, English instructors, professionals and administrators.

Written productions of students in different tasks in the English course and their
departmental courses were analyzed as well. Some recommendations were put
forward with respect to syllabus development and methodology in order to fulfill
the needs of the students with respect to their writing skill.
Edwards (2000) carried out a needs assessment study to identify the
language needs of the German bankers in order to design an ESP course for the
bank personnel. Four skills were explored. Interview with the director of the
banks language department was conducted and a questionnaire was given to
participants of the course to reveal the institutional and personal objectives.
Students past learning experience could be reflected through the questionnaire
well. Especially writing and specialist vocabulary in banking came up to be
specific needs. An ESP course was designed and guidelines for teaching method
were set.
Chan (2001) conducted a research on English language needs of students
at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Students perceptions with respect to their
needs and wants, their self ratings of their competence in academic and
professional domain were revealed. Their opinions were compared with those of
their English instructors. A survey of 701 tertiary learners and 47 English
instructors at the university was conducted. There was consistency regarding
responses of teachers and students. The cosistency was interpreted as the
being able to state their opinions on various skills and being conscious in terms
their competence.
Thus, literature reveals that systematic needs assessments are necessary in
order to examine the skills which are needed by a group of learners through
different data collection instruments from different sources. The results of such
studies lead to useful decisions regarding the improvement of basic curricular

According to the findings of needs analysis in other countries, many studies have been done in
many places and in different situations. The similarity of these studies is that they use needs
analysis to investigate the exact needs of the target group in order to achieve the maximum goal.
Li So-mui investigated the workplace English needs of textile and clothing merchandisers to
enable the course designers to develop the teaching and learning materials so that the company
could provide more specifically focused English courses. Then, Tajino, James and Kijima (2005)

analysed the initial focus of needs analysis for a syllabus specification in the EAP course design.
Cowling (2007) described the needs analysis stage in the development of a set of English
language materials for an intensive course at a large Japanese company and used the results to
fulfil the companys conditions and provide useful English training for the business staff.
Finally, Akyel and Ozek (2010) examined a language needs analysis research at an English
medium university in Turkey to find out the appropriateness of the ELT programme in satisfying
the academic needs of the students.
It can be concluded that various groups of studies require different language skills based on the
purpose of each group or occupation. Needs analysis can be identified as the first step in any
planning or design process and used as the way to gather the desired result which is an actual
need. Finally, an appropriate solution will be targeted to each group.

Abu-Rizaizah (2005) believes that satisfying learners needs and interests

has an important
influence on their motivation to learn and achieve.
Abu-Rizaizah, S. (2005). The process of designing an ESP writing
course for engineers in a
Saudi company. University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne ARECLS ejournal. 2 (3). Retrieved
October 5, 2011 from

In contrast to the above studies, the purpose of the current study was to identify both the target
needs and learning needs of students and this was done by utilizing three different methods to
collect data from seven different sources among the stakeholders involved (see Chapter Three for
more details). It was believed that this involvement of multiple methods and stakeholders might
help to provide a clearer picture of the situation under investigation. Until recently, the majority
of NA studies focused on learners views rather than those of domain experts (Gilabert, 2005:
182). Domain experts in this study were healthcare professionals working in large hospitals
throughout the KSA. The suggestion was that they could provide useful information about their
work-related needs, the activities they performed and the skills they used within their career
domains. The study also elicited the views of foreign doctors communicating with these
healthcare professionals, of hospital managers and of the officials involved in updating and
revising the ESP curriculum, in order to better identify and define learning and target career

The studies on language needs analysis and communication patterns in

various workplaces
identified that ESP practitioners need to collaborate with subject matter
experts from specific
professional areas such as business or engineering related subjects to better
execute the
communication tasks expected from students as highlighted by Mehisto
(2007). She emphasized
the need for a comprehensive needs analysis and collaboration with content
specialists in order to
avoid the mismatch between the workplace needs and ESP courses offered.
To excel in the
workplace engineers not only need to effectively communicate technical
information but also
need to have acceptable social and communication skills.

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