Needs Analysis in ESP Context: Saudi Engineering Students as a Case Study

Hashem Ahmed Alsamadani


Needs analysis can be a vital asset for teachers of English for specific purposes (ESP) to identify their learners’ key requirements or needs and determine the areas in which they are lacking skills. Against this background, this study was undertaken during the academic year 2015-16 to define the English language needs of engineering students (N= 200) majoring in civil engineering and industrial engineering. The data of this study was collected from different sources, including a classroom observation protocol, a questionnaire, and a semi-structured interview with both ESP and subject-matter teachers (SM) at Umm Al-Qura University. Results of the data analysis offered significant insights as to the teaching of ESP course. The study revealed that receptive skills (i.e., reading and listening) were mostly focused on in ESP classes. It has been also reported that writing and reading along with speaking skills were needed more than others. The data analysis helped to determine the most important language tasks in the context of engineering studies. Finally, a call was being made by both ESP and SM teachers to enhance the quality of the ESP course taught to engineering students by offering relevant suggestions. Based on these findings, the present study concluded with implications for course designers and recommendations for future studies.


Needs Analysis, ESP, engineering students, English skills, course design

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