Needs analysis for an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course for Thai undergraduates in a Food Science and Technology programme : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This thesis aims to explore the English language needs of students and relevant stakeholders for an English for specific purposes (ESP) programme for food science and technology students at Agriculture University in Thailand. The research was conducted using Dudley-Evans and St. John’s (1998) needs analysis as a research framework, and multiple sources of data collection were used. The study investigated the English language skills needed in academic and occupational contexts in the area of food science and technology. The participants in this research included 45 third-year students, six former students, three subject teachers in the food science and technology programme, two ESP teachers, and six employers.
The study showed that the students had low levels of English proficiency. Their low levels of English then affected their study in the academic context and their work during the internship programme in the occupational context. Reading and translation were the most needed skills in their academic context, whereas speaking and listening were considered the most needed skills in the occupational context. The study also revealed a mismatch of the perceptions of the students’ needs between the ESP teachers and other stakeholders in both academic and occupational contexts. The changes across two ESP courses in the students’ needs depended on three main factors: learners, professional information, and environmental situations.
This thesis contributes to knowledge of the ESP branches required for food science and technology at Agriculture University and using a needs analysis as an on-going process within the overall process of course development. It proposes a redesigned needs analysis model which could be used for future ESP needs analyses at Agriculture University in different disciplines and possibly also be adapted for use in wider Thai and international contexts.
Recommendations for supporting the ESP programme at Agriculture University and implications for future research are also provided.