University of Leicester
2011alfehaidaftphd.pdf (3.47 MB)

Developing an ESP curriculum for students of health sciences through needs analysis and course evaluation in Saudi Arabia

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posted on 2012-03-28, 08:28 authored by Abdulaziz Fahad T. Alfehaid
The central objective of this study is to create a proposal for the development of the present English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course at Health Sciences Colleges (HSCs) in Saudi Arabia on the basis of a needs analysis and a course evaluation. It attempts to evaluate the ESP course and to investigate the needs of two groups of stakeholders, viz. ESP students and health professionals, as perceived in the first case by the students themselves, by their language teachers and by the course administrators and in the second case by graduates of the ESP course now working in health professions and by other medical staff. A mixed-methods approach was adopted: 246 questionnaires were administered to current students, graduates and language teachers; semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 students, 7 graduates, 6 language teachers, 5 course administrators, 5 hospital managers and 11 English-speaking health professionals; and document analysis was employed as an ancillary research method. The triangulation of data collection tools, sources and places helps to increase the validity and reliability of the findings. The data collected from the documents and interview transcriptions were analyzed qualitatively by hand, while those collected from the questionnaires were analyzed quantitatively using the SPSS program. Findings of the language needs analysis show that all four of the language skills were important, both for the students’ academic studies and for their target careers. Generally speaking, the evaluation results indicate that while the ESP course was effective to some extent, it had some limitations including its curriculum organization and syllabus specifications, the teaching-learning materials used and the assessment procedures adopted. Accordingly, this study proposes a new ESP curriculum based on the students’ needs. The study also recommends the provision of teacher training and the recruitment of additional ESP teaching staff as first steps towards the necessary improvements. It is also concluded that the collection of multiple types of data from various sources and places is necessary to overcome many of the problems commonly associated with needs analysis and evaluation studies.


University of Dammam



Armstrong, Kevin

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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