A framework for designing and evaluating ESP materials for English and communication skills in the doctor-patient interview

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Effective medical consultations make an important contribution to positive outcomes for patients. For the large number of international doctors working in English speaking countries, deficits in language and communication skills can be a barrier to this effectiveness. This reflective report evaluates the effectiveness of Good Practice (McCullagh) and Wright, 2008), a course book and related components, in addressing those deficits. The book filled a gap in English for Medical Purposes literature, by providing materials with a clear focus on communicating in the doctor patient interview. Existing tools for evaluation were limited in their ability to show in detail the types of contribution which these learning materials can make to improving doctor's skills and knowledge.
An evaluative framework to fill this gap was developed, using principles from the literature of materials development and from English for Specific Purposes. By making explicit links between needs analysis as an ESP methodology and the development of principled materials, this framework has filled a gap in the availability of tools for evaluating ESP materials, and made a contribution to the under-researched area of ESP materials development more generally.
In evaluating Good Practice, the framework highlighted areas where the materials made a strong contribution to meeting the needs of learners, as well as areas where more support was needed. This demonstrated its usefulness for those developing ESP materials, and for teachers adapting and supplementing existing ESP materials. The report describes the compromises that were made in the writing of the materials and discusses the constraints of writing materials for a coursebook. The report also shows how my published contribution to the literature of materials development underpins the work carried out in this report. Finally, it also sets out opportunities for further refinement of the evaluative framework and for further research and development of its potential.
Date of AwardApr 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSue Wright (Supervisor)

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