The development of devices for mid-, long-, and very long- wavelength IR detection has benefitted greatly from advances in band-gap engineering. Recently, there has been great progress in the development of n-type GaAs/AlGaAs quantum well infrared photoconductor (QWIP) detector arrays in all three technologically important wavelength windows. P-type GaAs.AlGaAs QWIPS represent a viable alternative to n-type GaAs/AlGaAs QWIPs, offering the advantage of normal incidence absorption without the need for grating couplers. The maturity of the MBE of GaAs/AlGaAs layered materials offers the possibility of mass producing low cost, high performance, large size, high uniformity, multicolor, high frequency bandwidth, two-dimensional imaging QWIP arrays. This paper describes progress in optimizing the performance of p- type GaAs/AlGaAs QWIPs through modeling, growth, and characterization. Using the 8x8 envelope-function approximation (EFA), a number of structures were designed and their optical absorption calculated for comparison with experiment. Samples were grown by MBE based on the theoretical designs and their photoresponse measured. P-type QWIPs were optimized with respect to the well and barrier widths, alloy concentration, and dopant concentration; resonant cavity devices were also fabricated and temperature dependent photoresponse was measured. The quantum efficiencies and the background-limited (BLIP) detectivities under BLIP conditions of our own p-QWIPs are comparable to those of n-QWIPs; however, the responsivities are smaller. For our mid-IR p-QWIPs, the 2D doping densities of 1- 2x1012 cm-2 maximized the BLIP temperature and dark current limited detectivity by operating at around 100K. At 80K, the detectivity of the optimum doped sample was (formula available in paper)at 10V bias. Barrier widths greater than 200 A were sufficient to impede the tunneling dark current; resonant cavities enhanced absorption five-fold.