Towards a needs and situation analysis model for ESP course design in the Cambodian higher education context

  • Korop Khat

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The recent global economic exchange and business trade has led to the growth of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses in many Asian institutions. In Cambodia, there has been a similar demand for ESP courses in the higher education context, mainly triggered by the ASEAN economic integration in 2015,which introduced English as the working language of the ASEAN member countries (DHE,2014b). Despite the increasing need for the development of such courses, only a limited number of courses have been developed within the country without any systematic needs or situation analysis. Moreover, there has been limited research in this ESP field, especially in the Cambodian higher education context, either on designing, or evaluating ESP courses (Basturkmen,2010; Macalister,2007; Macalister & Sou,2006). To address this gap, the current thesis aimed to develop a needs and situation analysis model to assist in the ESP course design in the Cambodian higher education context. The study is the first comprehensive large scale empirical research which analyses perceptions of both academic and industry stakeholders on the necessity of ESP course design, the ESP course content, scope, syllabus, challenges and measures needed for ESP course development. A sequential explanatory mixed methods design, combining questionnaires and interviews, was employed in the current study (Creswell & Plano-Clark,2011). The research constitutes a case study, focusing on a needs and situation analysis in the Faculty of Science at a Cambodian university. Three hundred and forty-one participants were recruited in the quantitative phase, thirty of which volunteered to be interviewed in the qualitative phase. Unlike previous research, which included either academic or industry stakeholders, this research combined both academic stakeholders, specifically undergraduate students, subject lecturers and English lecturers, and industry stakeholders, consisting of employed university graduates and employers. The findings confirm the stakeholders’ support for ESP course design in the Cambodian context, thus supporting the 2014 initiatives of the Department of Higher Education. The results also demonstrate stakeholders’ preferences for a narrow-angled ESP course for each specialisation within the Faculty. In addition, the study reveals that stakeholders preferred ESP courses to be a combination of English for Academic Purposes and English for Occupational Purposes to reflect the current academic and professional needs of students. The majority of stakeholders show a preference for these courses to be elective so as to match the students’ interests and high study load. Several challenges are reported by the stakeholders, which comprise the Cambodian EFL students’ low English proficiency, the lack of training for ESP teachers and challenges in designing materials appropriate for the context. The current study provides a model for and offers recommendations for ESP course design in Science Faculties in the Cambodian higher education context. The findings and recommendations from this study can also be used in other tertiary institutions in Asia, with similar circumstances to Cambodia, especially those planning to develop an ESP course.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorEleni Petraki (Supervisor) & Jeremy Jones (Supervisor)

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