Four Decades of Publications in English for Specific Purposes: Mapping the Trajectory of Empirical Research

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Language and Linguistics, Islamic Azad University, Fereshtegaan International Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English Language, Yasouj University, Yasouj, Iran & Shiraz University, Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Shiraz, Iran



The current review mapped the trajectory of empirical research in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) journal since its inception (1980) until 2020, overall and across four time periods. In doing so, we analyzed 617 empirical articles with respect to the main themes of authors, context, and research foci, together with pedagogical implications offered in the studies. Each of these broad themes had more specific subthemes. Our review suggested that empirical articles in this journal were typified by single-authorship and contributions by an increasing number of female writers. The empirical publications in this journal addressed almost exclusively English as a focal language. There was also substantial, yet disproportionate, focus on writing while speaking garnered only modest attention. ‌A majority of the empirical studies included pedagogical implications either short or extended. Along with these research trends, we also provided a detailed picture of the changes across and within the time spans. This review of the research trend and discussion of the findings, we believe, offer the story of the journal from within, helping both experienced and novice researchers to gain an overview of the field and identify the mainstay publishing domains in a flagship journal of ESP.


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