Shawhin studies ways design and planning practitioners around the world shape their political and professional power. In doing so, he brings institutional and transnational perspectives to ways architects, planners, and engineers tackle social and environmental injustice. Shawhin is drawn to qualitative and mixed-methods approaches in sociology and contemporary history. He applies these in tracking global connections of people, policies, and practices—be they formal, informal, or even underground and illegal—through social media, travel, migration or other means. Shawhin is applying these interests to study (a) ethics and activism in the environmental design professions and universities, (b) professional and academic institutions of architecture as sites of social and political engagement, and (c) underrepresented perspectives in design education.