Gallaudet University Research Priorities

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Research is a key component of Gallaudet's mission as a University. The research priorities of the University reflect the institution's unique responsibility and commitment to encourage and support research and scholarship that aims to benefit the diversity of the deaf and hard of hearing population on campus, across the United States, and internationally. The research design should reflect this diversity and incorporate insights from a range of disciplines involving a variety of research paradigms and methodologies. The thirteen priorities below are the result of a collaborative process involving many individuals within the Gallaudet community. The order of listing is not intended to indicate the relative importance of the priority.


  1. Development of Signed Language Fluency
    Research aimed at understanding the sensory, cognitive, affective, linguistic, pedagogical, and socio-cultural processes by which individuals acquire American Sign Language or other signed languages. This priority applies both to individuals acquiring signed language in childhood and to those who acquire or learn signed languages later in life.

  2. Development of English Literacy
    Research aimed at increasing understanding of the sensory, cognitive, linguistic, and socio-cultural processes by which deaf and hard of hearing individuals learn to read and write, plus the relationship between literacy learning and the signed, printed, and spoken languages used in the individual's home, school, community, and cultural environments.

  3. Psycho-Social Development and Mental Health Needs
    Research focusing on biological, neurological, psychological, and sociological aspects of deaf and hard of hearing people's psychosocial development and mental health throughout their life spans.

  4. Teaching, Learning and the Communication Environment
    Research on how pedagogical practices and accessibility of information affect learning for deaf and hard of hearing students.

  5. School, Home, and Community Relationships
    Research aimed at understanding home, school, and community relationships, school readiness, family and community involvement, and dynamics in homes and schools with deaf or hard of hearing members.

  6. Transition through School and into Postsecondary Education and Work
    Research aimed at understanding and identifying the transition processes of deaf and hard of hearing students through school and beyond into post-secondary education, work, and independent living.

  7. History and Culture of Deaf People
    Studies of Deaf peoples' history, cultures, creative productions, and signed languages, including research into and preservation of the contributions of visual and tactile ways of knowing and experiencing the world. This priority highlights studies of the origins and development of literature, the visual arts, and other creative, political, and social contributions of deaf people around the world.

  8. Linguistics of Signed Languages
    Linguistic studies of signed languages, including phonological, morphological, and syntactic phenomena as well as meaning construction, discourse, and variation. This priority supports cross-linguistic comparison among signed languages as well as research on language contact and historical change.

  9. Interpretation and Translation
    Research examining processes, practices, and pedagogy involved in interpreting for hearing, hard of hearing, deaf, and deaf-blind individuals in a broad range of settings. This priority relates to situations involving Deaf and hearing interpreters working with signed and spoken languages or other visual or tactile communication systems. In addition, this priority concerns literary and other translations involving signed languages.

  10. Studies that Inform Public Policies and Programs
    Research essential for the development, administration, and evaluation of public policies and programs affecting education, mental health, communication access, medicine, employment, and other services used by deaf and hard of hearing people throughout their lives.

  11. Technologies that Affect Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
    Studies of technology's impact on the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people, including research on and development of technologies and media aimed at enhancing communication.

  12. Assessment
    Research related to the development, translation, validation and practical application of appropriate tools, techniques, and models for assessing a wide range of characteristics, skills and abilities of deaf and hard of hearing people.

  13. Diverse Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations
    Research that examines multicultural awareness, knowledge and/or skills as well as methods of social advocacy related to diverse deaf and hard of hearing children, youth, adults, their families and their communities. Diversity includes, but is not limited to differences of race, ethnicity, gender, age, creed, disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, school experience, linguistic background, and immigration experience.

(Approved April 2007, GRI, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC)


We are always interested in feedback regarding Gallaudet's Research Priorities. If you have comments or suggestions, you are encouraged to send them to either Senda Benaissa or Carlene Thumann-Prezioso, Gallaudet Research Institute, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002.

[Last modified: 2011.12.05 16:50:34. by Kevin Cole]

DISCLAIMER: This website contains documents with terms that may be considered by today's reader as outdated and even offensive. For example, the term "hearing impairment" is sometimes used as a category for levels of hearing loss, such as hard of hearing and deaf. Some people now see cultural identification and communication preference as defining characteristics behind terms such as hard of hearing and deaf, and they do not favor terms conveying medical distinctions and loss. Yet we recognize that removing and changing terms may alter the precise meaning of the scientific author. A solution may be found by expanding the scope of future research to include non-medical perspectives.
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