Professor Groat's areas of expertise and research include: research design and methods, environmental meaning, empirical aesthetics, place theory, gender and minority issues in architectural education, and participatory processes in design. Her foundational work in these areas has had a significant impact on design studies research, and has received recognition in the academic and professional realms, as well as in national media such as U.S. News and World Report, the New York Times, NPR, and Women in Higher Education. The University of Michigan honored her work on gender in architectural education with the 1998 Sarah Goddard Power Award.
She teaches both core courses in the Doctoral Program, as well as elective courses in the MArch program, including Research for Design Practices, Alternative Practices, and Theorizing Place. Over her many years of teaching doctoral students, she has served on approximately 60 dissertation committees (including at least 30 as chair or co-chair) primarily at the University of Michigan, but also at other institutions in the US and internationally. Her special focus in doctoral education has been on research design and methods, and their integrative application across the breadth of architectural specialties. Her co-authored book, Architectural Research Methods (Wiley, 2002, 2nd edition 2013) has been translated into Chinese and Persian.
In addition to professional experience in architecture and graduate degrees in teaching (MAT in History, Yale) and in design (MFA in Design, California Institute of the Arts), she holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Environmental Psychology from the University of Surrey, England. Her research has meaningful applications to both professional and academic contexts; and she has published widely to reach these audiences in journals such as: Architecture, Progressive Architecture, Journal of Architectural Education, Journal of Environmental Psychology, and Journal of Architectural and Planning Research. She has contributed numerous chapters to edited volumes and has also published an edited book, Giving Places Meaning (1995), and is currently at work on a co-edited book, Games in Architecture in Architecture and Urban Planning: tools for design, teaching and research (Routledge, 2019).