Graphic design students require a foundation in understanding, utilizing and conducting research. The discipline would benefit from standards for quantitative, qualitative, mixedmethods and practical approaches to graphic design-specific research. This paper examines the role of graphic design research in college-level graphic design pedagogy. This study is motivated by two research questions:  what theoretical analysis and practical approaches to graphic design research are graphic design educators currently implementing?  How can college-level graphic design educators build a culture of research literacy in graphic design baccalaureate programs?
Literature describing the theoretical and practical instruction of graphic design research in college-level graphic design education is limited. The intention of this study is to advance the understanding of how graphic design educators define and implement graphic design research, first through qualitative analysis of a survey of four-year, graphic design degree program professors across the U.S. followed by in-depth interviews with published educators practicing research.
The study’s interviews elaborate on the specifics of graphic design research through the lenses of professors developing and implementing graphic design research in four-year undergraduate programs, in their own practices, and in the discipline-wide conversation and study of graphic design research itself. In the study’s conclusion, potential future research is discussed.