Trained as an historical sociologist, Paul has held posts in economic development in municipalities in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. He was one of the organizers of the Irish Halifax SSHRC project and did research there on the early Mechanics' Library in Halifax (1831-1864). He is leading the A. F. Church Mapping Project, a large project to connect the late nineteenth century household geography of the maps with the 1881 census and the genealogical records of the local historical societies of the province.
He did his doctorate at Dalhousie University with work on the intellectual genealogy of the Antigonish Movement. His research is focussed now on the theory of civil society. He has considerable experience with non-profits at both the Board and staff level, and currently serves on the Boards of the Genealogical Association of N.S. and KITH Observatory, Inc.