Conducting Needs Analysis in Language Programs

I. How-to Books on Needs Analysis

II. Needs Analysis Examples: L2 Program Development, Evaluation, & Research

III. Online Advice on Needs Analysis



I. How-to Books

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Altschuld, J. W. (Ed.) (2010). The needs assessment kit. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Altschuld, J. W., & Witkin, B. R. (2000). From needs assessment to action: Transforming needs into solution strategies. London: Sage.


Witkin, B. R., & Altschuld, J. W. (1995). Planning and conducting needs assessments: A practical guide. London: Sage.




Brown, J. D. (1995). The elements of language curriculum: A systematic approach to program development. New York: Heinle & Heinle. [See chapter 2]


Brown, J. D. (2009). Foreign and second language needs analysis. In M. H. Long & C. J. Doughty (Eds.), The handbook of language teaching (pp. 269-293). Oxford: Blackwell.


Long, M. H. (2005). Methodological issues in learner needs analysis (pp. 19-76). In M. H. Long, (Ed.), Second language needs analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Long, M. H. (2005). A rationale for learner needs analysis. In M. H. Long, (Ed.), Second language needs analysis (pp. 1-16). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Mishan, F. (2005). Designing authenticity into language learning materials. Bristol, UK: Intellect Books.




II. Needs analysis examples: L2 Program Development, Evaluation, & Research

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Benesch, S. (1996). Needs analysis and curriculum development in EAP: An example of a critical approach. TESOL Quarterly, 30, 723-738.


Blue, G. M. (1994). Self-assessment of foreign language skills: Does it work? CLE Working Papers, 3, 18–35. Southampton, UK: University of Southampton.


Chaudron, C., Doughty, C., Kim, Y., Kong, D., Lee, J., Lee, Y., Long, M. H., Rivers, R., & Urano, K. (2005). A task-based needs analysis of a tertiary Korean as a foreign language program. In M. H. Long (Ed.), Second language needs analysis (pp. 105-124). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Cowling, J. D. (2007). Needs analysis: Planning a syllabus for a series of intensive workplace courses at a leading Japanese company. English for Specific Purposes, 26(4), 426-442.


Ferris, D., & Tagg, T. (1996). Academic oral communication needs of EAP learners: What subject-matter instructors actually require. TESOL Quarterly, 30(1), 31-58.


Flowerdew, L. (2005). Integrating traditional and critical approaches to syllabus design: The ‘what’, the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4, 135-147.


Gilabert, R. (2005). Evaluating the use of multiple sources and methods in needs analysis: A case study of journalists in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia (Spain). In M. H. Long (Ed.), Second language needs analysis (pp. 182- 199). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Iwai, T., Kondo, K., Lim, D.S.J., Ray, G.E., Shimizu, H., & Brown, J.D. (1999). Japanese language needs assessment 1998-1999 (NFLRC NetWork #13) [HTML document]. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i, Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center. Retrieved from


Kikuchi, K. (2004). Triangulating perceptions of learners’ needs: An alternate way of conducting needs analysis. The Interface Between Interlanguage, Pragmatics, and Assessment: Proceedings of the 3rd Annual JALT Pan-SIG Conference. Retrieved from


Kikuchi, K. (2005). Student and teacher perceptions of learning needs: A cross analysis. Shiken: JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter, 9(2), 8-20. Retrieved from


Kimball, J. (1998). Task-Based medical English: Elements for internet-assisted language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 11, 411-417.


Konoeda, K. & Watanabe, Y. (2008). Task-based critical pedagogy in Japanese EFL classrooms: Rationale, principles, and examples. In M. Mantero, C. P. Miller & J. L. Watzke (Eds.), Readings in language studies (Vol. 1). St. Louis, MO: International Society for Language Studies.


Lanteigne, B. (2006). Regionally specific tasks of non-Western English language use. TESL-EJ, 10(2), 1-19.


Lett, J. A. (2005). Foreign language needs assessment in the US military. In M. H. Long (Ed.), Second language needs analysis (pp. 105-124). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


*Long, M. (Ed.). (2005). Second Language Needs Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University.


Milleret, M. (2008). The trials and tribulations of comprehensive program evaluation. ADFL Bulletin, 39(2&3), 44-48.


Purpura West, R. (1994). Needs analysis in language teaching. Language Teaching, 27(1), 1-19.


Purpura, J. E., & Graziano-King, J. (2004). Investigating the foreign language needs of professional school students in international affairs: A case study. Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics, Teachers College, Columbia University, 4(1), 1-33. Retrieved from


Van Avermaet, P., & Gysen, S. (2006). From needs to tasks: Language learning needs in a task-based approach. In K. Van den Branden (Ed.), Task-based language teaching in practice (pp. 17-46). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


*The book includes a chapter on methodological issues and 10 needs analysis studies. For more details on the book chapters, click [here]


V. Online advice on needs analysis

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Needs Analysis Module
Amie Casper at the Brigham Young University provides a needs analysis module for graduate students who are volunteering at TESOL programs. The module includes a short explanation of needs analysis and some reflective questions.


One Stop English: Needs analysis
Alex Case offers a comprehensive guide on needs analysis for English for specific purposes course (note: Specific examples are from a business English course). The guide has six parts:
(1) What is it?
(2) What do we know about our students?
(3) How to carry it out in the classroom
(4) Discussion and thinking points
(5) Comments on discussion and thinking points
(6) Questions for the beginning of the course


Learning Needs Analysis (ASSET Project)
Rhonda Wynne outlines why needs analysis can help student learning, instruction, and course design. A brief introduction to designing needs analysis and data analysis are described.


Needs Analysis Lesson
Instructional Design: A systems approach
Mary Nicholson at Bloomsburg University has a detailed Power Point lesson on "Identifying the Need for Instruction." In the lesson, she identifies (a) four steps for NA, (b) six categories of needs, (c) various information sources for NA, and (d) four types of performance problems and solutions.


Needs Assessment Strategies for Community Groups and Organizations
The Iowa State University Extension
The website lists some questions that can guide needs analysis planning as well as five data collection techniques. Advantages and disadvantages of the following techniques are introduced: existing data, attitude survey, key informant questionnaire or interview, community forum, and focus group.


Needs Analysis: How to determine training needs
This website by targets training needs for employment. Various types of analysis are briefly explained (e.g., context analysis, user analysis, cost-benefit analysis).


The Learning Needs Analysis Toolkit
Continuing Professional Development Centre and Begbroke Science Park at the University of Oxford
This website is for diagnosing an organization for its potentials and needs as a learning organization. A free interactive online questionnaire is available.


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©2007 John Norris, Yukiko Watanabe, Marta Gonzalez-Lloret & Hye Ri Joo