Synchronizing the logic of inquiry with the logic of action: The case of urban climate policy

Chris J. Barton, Qingqing Wang, Derrick M. Anderson, Drew A. Callow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Policymakers often rely on scientific knowledge for making policy decisions, and many scientists aim to produce knowledge that is useful to policymakers. However, the logic of action (which guides policy) and the logic of inquiry (which guides research) do not always align. We introduce the term “logic synchronization” to characterize the degree to which the logic of policy action aligns with the logic of scientific inquiry. We use the case of urban climate policy to explore this dynamic using a purposive literature review. The framework presented here is helpful in identifying areas in which the logic of inquiry and the logic of action synchronize, creating the opportunity for both policy-relevant science and science-informed policy. It also reveals where the logics do not yet synchronize, which indicates where scientists and policy makers can productively focus their efforts. The framework introduced here can be both theoretically and practically useful for linking scientific knowledge to policy action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10625
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Climate change
  • Policy-relevant science
  • Public policy
  • Science-informed policy
  • Urban climate policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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