From needs analysis to development of a vocational English language curriculum: A practical guide for practitioners
Suat Kaya 1 *
More Detail
1 Vocational School of Civil Aviation, Agri Ibrahim Cecen University, Agri, Turkey
* Corresponding Author


This study was conducted to examine the needs of students of cabin services program regarding English in order to guide the design of a vocational English language curriculum. The research design used in this this study was the concurrent triangulation approach, one of the mixed methods models. This approach can be used when the researcher collects both qualitative and quantitative data at the same time not giving privilege to either approach. It compares the two different data types to find out similarities and differences. There were two groups of participants in this study. The first group was composed of 352 students, enrolled in the Vocational School of Civil Aviation from four universities, who were selected with cluster sampling method, while the second group included 10 instructors working in these universities and four in-service flight attendants. A questionnaire and a semi-structured interview developed by the researcher were utilized to collect data. The quantitative data obtained from the questionnaire were analyzed through descriptive statistics procedures including frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations, while qualitative data were analyzed through content analysis. Findings revealed that the students needed to develop their speaking and listening skills in order to be successful in their future work settings, although they were least competent in these skills. Based on further findings determined by needs analysis, the study was concluded with a sample guide for practitioners planning to develop a vocational English language curriculum using Hilda Taba’s curriculum development model. 



  • Alfehaid, A. F. T. (1994). Developing an ESP curriculum for students of health sciences through needs analysis and course evaluation in Saudi Arabia (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Leicester, UK, Leicester.
  • Ali, H. I. H., & Salih, A. R. A. (2013). Perceived views of language teachers on the use of the needs analysis in ESP materials writing. English Language Teaching, 6(3), 11-19.
  • Alsamadani, H. A. (2017). Needs analysis in ESP context: Saudi engineering students as a case study. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 8(6), 58-68.
  • Arik, S. (2002). An investigation into the requirements of discipline teachers for academic English language use in a Turkish medium university (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), Bilkent University, Ankara.
  • Ayas, Ö., & Kırkgöz, Y. (2013). The academic and vocational English language needs of the school of health students. Çukurova University Faculty of Educational Journal, 42(1), 39-55.
  • Basturkmen, H., & Lewis, M. (2002). Learners’ perspectives of success in an EAP writing course. Assessing Writing, 8, 31-46.
  • Belcher, D. D. (2006). English for specific purposes: teaching to the perceived needs and imagined futures in the world of work, study, and everyday life. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 133–156.
  • Benesch, S. (1996). Needs analysis and curriculum development in EAP: An example of a critical approach. Testing English to Speakers of Other Language Quarterly, 30(4), 723-738.
  • Benesch, S. (1999). Right analysis: Studying power relations in an academic setting. English for Specific Purposes, 18, 313-327.
  • Berman, R., & Cheng, L. (2001). English academic language skills: Perceived difficulties by undergraduate and graduate students, and their academic achievement. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1-2), 25-40.
  • Boran, G. (1994). A needs analysis for ESP classes at the Tourism Education Department of the Trade Business and Tourism Education Faculty of Gazi University (Unpublished master’s thesis). Bilkent University, Ankara.
  • Brindley, G. (1989). The role of needs analysis in adult ESL program design. In R. K. Johnson. (Eds.), The second language curriculum (pp.63-78). Cambridge University Press.
  • Brown, J. D. (1995). The elements of language curriculum: A systematic approach to program development. Heinle & Heinle/Cambridge University Press.
  • Buyukyavuz, O. (2006). Teaching foreign language (English) for specific purpose applying needs analysis (the case of S.D.U. Egirdir vocational school) (Unpublished master’s thesis). Suleyman Demirel University, Isparta.
  • Casanave, C., & Hubbard, P. (1992). The writing assignments and writing problems of doctoral students: Faculty perceptions, pedagogical issues, and needed research. English for Specific Purposes, 11(1), 33-49.
  • Chen, Y. (2006). From the common core to specific. Asian ESP Journal, 1(3), 24-50.
  • Chia, H.-U., Johnson, R., Chia, H. L., & 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), 107-119.
  • Clement, A., & Murugavel, T. (2015). English for employability: A case study of the English language training needs of engineering students in India. English Language Teaching, 8(2), 116-125.
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. Taylor and Francis Group.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. (3rd Ed.). Sage Publications.
  • Cutting, J. (2011) English for airport ground staff. English for Specific Purposes, 31, 3-13.
  • Derado, S. D. (2015). Fostering cross-cultural communicative competence in business English classes through literary short stories. ESP Today, 3(1), 99-119.
  • Diken, Ü. (2006). Teaching foreign language (English) for specific language purpose applying need analysis (the case study of S.D.U. Eğirdir Vocational High School) (Unpublished master’s thesis). Süleyman Demirel University, Turkey.
  • Dudley-Evans, T., & St. John, M. J. (1998). Developments in ESP: A multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Evans, S., & Green, C. (2007). Why EAP is necessary: A survey of Hong Kong tertiary students. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 6, 3-17.
  • Evans, S., & Morrison, B. (2011a). Meeting the challenges of English-medium higher education: The first-year experiences in Hong Kong. English for Specific Purposes, 30, 198-208.
  • Evans, S., & Morrison, B. (2011b). The first term at university: Implications for EAP. ELT Journal, 65(4), 387-397.
  • Ferris, D. (1998). Students' views of academic aural/oral skills: A comparative needs analysis. TESOL Quarterly, 32, 289-318.
  • Flowerdew, J., & Miller, L. (1992). Student perceptions, problems and strategies in second language lecture comprehension. RELC Journal, 23, 60-80.
  • Fox, J., & Artemeva, N. (2017). From diagnosis toward academic support: Developing a disciplinary ESP-based writing task and rubric to identify the needs of entering undergraduate engineering students. ESP Today, 5(2), 148-171.
  • Fraenkel, J. R, Hyun, H.H., & Wallen, N. E. (2012). How to design and evaluate research in education (8th Ed.). McGraw Hill
  • Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P., & Borg, W. W. (2003). Educational research: an introduction. Pearson Education Inc.
  • Gessesse, M. (2009). Identifying students’ language needs in private medical colleges in Bair Dar (Unpublished master’s thesis). Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia.
  • Gokce, A., & Batman, O. (2015). Needs assessment of English for occupational purposes (EOP) education in tourism associate degree programs based on students’ opinions. PARADOKS Economics, Sociology and Policy Journal, Special Issue 1, 211-264.
  • Hutchinson, T., & Waters, A. (1987). English for specific purposes: A learning-centered approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Hyland, K. (1997). Is EAP necessary? A survey of Hong Kong undergraduates. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching, 7, 77-99.
  • Ivanic, R. (2006). Language, learning and identification. In R. Kiely, P. Rea- Dickins, H.Woodfield, & G. Clibbon (Eds.), Language, culture and identity in applied linguistics (pp. 7-29). British Association for Applied Linguistics.
  • Jenkins, S., Jordan, M., & Weiland, P. (1993). The role of writing in graduate engineering education: A survey of faculty beliefs and practices. English for Specific Purposes, 12(1), 51-67.
  • Johns, A. M. (1981). Necessary English: A faculty survey. TESOL Quarterly, 15(1), 51-57.
  • Jones, G. (1990). ESP textbooks: Do they really exist? English for Specific Purposes, 9, 89-93.
  • Kaewpet, C. (2009). A framework for investigating learner needs: Needs analysis extended to curriculum development. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 6(2), 209-220.
  • Kaur. S., & Clarke, C. M. (2009). Analyzing the English language needs of human resource staff in multinational companies. ESP World, 3(24), 2009.
  • Kaur, S. & Khan, A. B. M. A. (2010). Language needs analysis of art and design students: Considerations for ESP course design. ESP World, 2(28), 1-15.
  • Kikuchi, K. (2005). Student and teacher perceptions of learning needs: a cross analysis. Shiken: JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter, 9(2), 8–20.
  • Lee, C. Y. (1998). English for nursing purposes: A needs assessment for professional-oriented curriculum design. Academic Journal of Kang-Ning, 1(1). 55-72.
  • Leki, I., & Carson, J. (1994). Students’ perceptions of EAP writing instruction and writing needs across the disciplines. TESOL Quarterly, 28(1), 285-296.
  • Mazdayasna, G., & Tahririan, M.H. (2008) Developing a profile of the ESP needs of Iranian students: The case of students of nursing and midwifery. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7(4), 277-289.
  • Midoul, M. (2013). Needs analysis of engineering students at ENSAM (Unpublished master’s thesis). Moulay Ismail University, Morocco.
  • Moder, C. L. (2013). Aviation English. In B. Paltridge and S. Starfield (Eds.). The handbook of English for specific purposes, (227-242). Blackwell Publishing.
  • Moslemi, F., Moinzadeh, A., & Dabaghi, A. (2011). ESP needs analysis of Iranian MA students: A case study of the university of Isfahan. English Language Teaching, 4(4), 121-129.
  • Moyo, J. & Mann, C. C. (2018). Face validity in ESP: A quantitative student validation of an engineering ESP approach. ESP Today, 6(2), 228-253.
  • Nguyen, H., & Nguyen, T. (2017). English for specific purposes (ESP): Perceptions of students and teachers of learning needs at a Vietnamese school. International Journal of Advanced Research, 5(4), 793-803.
  • Nunan, D. (1988). The learner-centred curriculum: A study in second language teaching. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2017). Curriculum: Foundations, principles and issues (7th ed.). Pearson Education Limited.
  • Richards, J. C. (2001). Curriculum development in language education. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sullivan, P., & Girginer, H. (2002). The use of discourse analysis to enhance ESP teacher knowledge: An example of Aviation English. English for Specific Purposes, 21, 397–404.
  • Taba, H. (1962). Curriculum development: Theory and practice. New York: Harcourt Brace.
  • Taillefer, G. F. (2007). The professional language needs of economics graduates: assessment and perspectives in the French context. English for Specific Purposes, 26(2), 135–155.
  • Tasci, C. (2007). An analysis of medical students’ English language needs (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Bilkent. Ankara.
  • Ulla, M. B., & Winitkun, D. (2017). Thai learners’ linguistic needs and language skills: Implications for curriculum development. International Journal of Instruction, 10(4), 203-220.
  • Wang, A. (2006). Teaching Aviation English in the Chinese context: Developing ESP theory in a non-English speaking country. English for Specific Purposes, 26(1), 121-128.
  • Xiao, L. (2006). What can we learn from a learning needs analysis of Chinese English majors in a university context? Asian EFL Journal, 8(4), 74–99.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.