Domain Analysis as a Multidimensional Research Framework: Evidence-Based Alignment for LSP Research, Assessment, and Curricula


Language for specific purposes (LSP) pedagogy has as its goal the delivery of the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) one must possess in order to function in professional real-world language use contexts. Delivery of such a promise requires well-defined outcomes. This paper argues that when these outcomes are not readily identifiable through theoretically explained data or empirically collected evidence, one must turn to the process of domain analysis as a research framework. The paper first contextualizes domain analysis in an assessment-driven proficiency-oriented reverse design framework (Baumann et al., n.d.) and evidence-centered design (ECD) (Mislevy & Haertel, 2006; Mislevy, 2011). Next, it describes the steps of domain analysis as a multidimensional and systematic research framework to analyze and define language use in specific LSP contexts. It concludes with a discussion of why LSP domain analyses are essential to ensure alignment across LSP research, assessment, and curricula, regardless of purpose or discipline.