José Pereira Coutinho has a degree in agronomic engineering (ISA-UTL) and a master's degree in business management (ISCTE-IUL). From 2005 he moved to sociology, combining it with the two previous areas until 2008 in the coordination of projects on forest fires. Between 2008 and 2011, as FCT fellow, he wrote his doctoral thesis in sociology in the field of religion and youth. He presented it in 2012 at ISCTE-IUL with the title 'Modernity, religiosity and university'.

He is a researcher at Númena - Center for Research in Social Sciences and Humanities, unfolding his scientific research and interest in some areas. He is interested in theoretical analysis, combined with historical analysis, especially the theories of modernization and secularization. At the macro level, he is interested in the State's relationship with religions and the governmental and social restrictions to religious freedom. At the meso level, he is interested in the organizational analysis of both the Catholic Church, namely the new ecclesial movements, and religious minorities. At the micro level, on which he has worked most so far, particularly in his doctoral thesis, he is interested in the evolution of religious types (practitioner, pilgrim, converted), the religious clusters, religious socialization and the conception of the sacred. This micro-analysis focuses on youth and Portugal, but also covers comparative studies in terms of age and geography, based on international databases.