Needs Analysis Models

Topics: Linguistics, Language acquisition, Language education Pages: 15 (3386 words) Published: July 30, 2015

Needs Analysis Models

Different models under the ESP umbrella have approached this field in different ways. Jordan (1994) indicates that the main two approaches in needs analysis are the Target-Situation Analysis and the Present-Situation Analysis. Other approaches such as the Learning-Centered approach, the Strategy Analysis approach, and the Means Analysis approach are seen as permutations of Target-Situation Analysis and Present-Situation Analysis (Jordan, 1994). The Target-Situation Analysis model (related to objective, perceived and product-oriented needs) started with Munby’s (1978) model of the Communication Needs Process. This model contains a detailed set of procedures for discovering target situation needs. It is based on analyzing language communication in the target situation in order to provide a communicative needs profile for a specified group of learners. The Communication Needs Process profile seeks to present a valid specification of the skills and linguistic forms that a group of learners needs in the intended target situation. The Communication Needs Process model contained nine components (e.g. participant, purposive domain, setting, interaction, instrumentality, dialect, target level, communicative event, and communicative key). Each component asks questions about the use of the target language in order to identify learners' real world communicative requirements. The outcome is used as an input to prepare the intended group of learners for their intended use of the target language through converting the needs profile into a communicative competence specification that is presented in a form of a syllabus (Jordan, 1997). Tarone & Yule (1989) continued research within the same framework of the Target- Situation Analysis approach. However, they added four components to Munby’s model. Their addition consisted of the global level (e.g. situations, participants, communicative purpose, and target activities), the rhetorical level (e.g. organisational structure of the communicative activities), the grammatical-rhetorical level (e.g. linguistic forms required to realise the forms in the rhetorical level) and the grammatical level (the frequency of grammatical and lexical constructions in the target situation). These additional levels were adopted from Canale and Swain’s (1980) model of communicative competence (e.g. discourse competence). The purpose of adding these levels are to show how needs analysis incorporates linguistic form (e.g. register analysis) and functional form (e.g. discourse analysis). Both forms are layers in the target and present situations that provide input data for syllabus design (West 1994). The Target-Situation Analysis model has remained highly influential in the field of ESL/ESP needs analysis. It was the first needs analysis model based on the concept of communicative competence. Munby’s categories of communicative activities and their relation to the communicative events of the target situation reflect categories of real world language use (West, 1994). In other words, they reflect the shift in the ESL field from language system to language use. As a result of this shift, most studies continue to follow this model in relating communicative needs to analysis of communication in the target situation. Consequently, needs analysis has become an integral element of the field of ESP as the basis for designing ESP courses (Dudley-Evans, 1991). However, this approach has received major criticism for being inflexible. The initial Target-Situation Analysis model by Munby was comprehensive and complex because his aim was to provide a wide range of needs profiles. However, he did not specify any priorities for his model of activities. This creates difficulties when applying the profile to different language situations (West, 1994). Practitioners overcome this difficulty by using different profiles based on their own circumstances. It is important here to note that this model analyzes the...
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