Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology
University of Massachusetts Boston
Russell K. Schutt, PhD is Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Lecturer on Sociology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. He received his BA, MA and PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Sociology of Social Control Training Program at Yale University. He is an expert in research methodology, and is the author of a leading research methods text in sociology and political science with SAGE Publications, Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research (now in its 7th edition), with coauthored adaptations and brief versions for the fields of psychology, social work, education, and criminal justice. He is an expert in the use of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods and in a range of statistical and qualitative data analysis techniques. In 2007, he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Schutt’s overarching scholarly focus is on the bidirectional relationship between individuals and their social environments. The specific questions he seeks to answer about this relationship are: (1) How does social organization influence health and functioning? (2) How do individuals come to participate in social organizations? (3) What shapes the work and orientations of staff within organizations? The settings in which he has sought to answer these questions range from work organizations and social services organizations to Veterans Administration medical centers, community health centers, group homes, homeless shelters, and rehabilitation programs. The individual orientations and behaviors he has studied in these settings include job satisfaction, employee engagement, empowerment, cognitive functioning, service preferences and satisfaction, housing retention, levels of distress, and criminal behavior.
Dr. Schutt’s research about these issues has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Cancer Institute, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Veterans Administration and others, and has been published in leading peer reviewed journals in sociology, social work, and psychology, as well as by major academic presses. His latest book, Homelessness, Housing and Mental Illness (Harvard University Press) exemplifies his research approach. In it, he uses an integrated theoretical framework and multiple research methods to investigate the divergence of consumer housing preferences and clinician housing recommendations, the meaning and impact of mental illness, the consequences of substance abuse, the process of developing social relations, changing staff roles and empowering tenants within group homes, and the impact of these factors on residential stability and cognitive functioning. In a recent Exploratory Seminar funded by Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute (March 2011), Connecting the Social Brain with the Social World, he and his Harvard colleagues Matcheri Keshavan, MD and Larry J. Seidman, PhD launched an effort to integrate new scholarship in neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology and sociology in order to improve understanding of the bidirectional process of influence between individuals and their social environments.
Russell Schutt has consulted with The Conference Board since 2007. In this capacity, he has designed analyses of variation in employee engagement in multinational companies and tested the performance of alternative indicators.