Unsure what questions to ask your students when designing a needs analysis, or short on time and would like a list of suggestions? Alex Case offers a short list of questions you can use when conducting a needs analysis.

A good way of starting to design a needs analysis for a student (or a general needs analysis format for a school) is to brainstorm all the questions you could possibly want to ask them, and then edit them down. The article 'What is a needs analysis?' offers prompts for categories and questions. Here is a list of questions I came up with after brainstorming for my students:

About students' present situation at work

What’s your job precisely?

Do you use English?

What do you do? situations / medium / channel / genre

What percentage of each?

Which of these do you find difficult / need to improve?

What fields / topics do you need to talk about/ need vocabulary of?

Which of these areas do you need most to improve your English?

What exactly do you need to do that?

 About outside work

Are you doing anything to improve your English at the moment?

Do you do anything else in English? (watch CNN?, watch subtitled movies?, watch DVDs?, read business papers?)

What resources do you have at home / work?

  • Dictionary – bilingual / monolingual
  • Internet access
  • TV / DVD
  • Press – general and specialised

Do you travel to English speaking/ other countries?

 About the past

Same questions as above for the past.

What’s the last thing you did in English?

Have you studied English before?

How long for / to what level?

 About the future

What are your short term and long term aims for English?

What’s the next thing you have to do in English?

Any big conferences / meetings / business trips / conference calls / presentations coming up?

How far do you want to go with your English (each skill)?


How do you like studying English?

What did you think of your previous lessons?

What’s the best way to learn a language?

How much homework can you do?