We developed a systematic process for identifying resources for evaluation and assessment. We based our approach on the FPESA report search protocol (page 10 in the report), which we adapted to obtain a manageable number of results whilst remaining faithful to our objectives.
We used the FPESA report's list of search terms to link together family planning and sustainability. It required articles to contain a topic term relating to family planning or its possible consequences (such as changes in fertility rates or greater gender equity) and a topic term relating to conservation or sustainability. Topic terms were searched in the title, abstract and keywords. An asterisk (*) denotes the use of a “wild-card term,” meaning that the search included terms with different sets of letters in place of the asterisk. For example, a search for the term “empower*” would include results that contain the words “empower” or “empowers” or “empowerment.” “TFR” is an acronym for “total fertility rate,” a demographic term quantifying the average lifetime number of live births per woman in a population at any given time.
Family Planning Terms: reproductive health, sexual health, reproductive rights, sexual rights, family planning, gender equ*, contracept*, birth control, population control, total fertility rate, TFR, population growth, growing population, population pressure, population dynamics, girls education, empower*, decreas* family size, low* family size, small* family size, demographic transition, intended pregnancy, desired fertility, population pressure, population stab*, stab* population, fertility intent*, fertility desir*.
Sustainability Terms: natural resource*, carrying capacity, resilien*, climate change, global warming, carbon emissions, water scarcity, food *security, famine, biodiversity, ecosystem, sustainable development, consumption, environment* sustainabil*, soil fertility, anthropogen*, fossil fuel, renewable, non-renewable, resource scarcity, resource depletion, environmental degradation.
Because our search yielded over 40.000 results, we added a requirement that both topic terms be found within 10 words of each other. We also limited our results to English language articles and reviews published after 2015, to capture literature produced after our 2016 report. Additionally, we performed a parallel search for articles and reviews citing any of our previously selected key articles, those that explicitly addressed the family planning and environmental sustainability linkage. We also created a search alert to update our search bi-annually, and included articles suggested by the research team.
In 2021, we performed the search in Web of Science, and obtained 8586 articles and reviews, which we screened for inclusion by a two-tiered process. In January 2022, we reviewed 1632 additional results (844 from the Web of Science search, and 600 key article citations), and performed the literature search in the French language in three databases: Erudit, CAIRN, and Google Scholar (188 results). As of January 2022, we selected 454 articles, reviews, commentaries and book sections, which we organized in seven groups: key resources linking family planning and the environment, gender and the environment, population pressure and the environment, human reproduction, family planning, articles critical of the family planning and environment link and other articles.
This selected research library is available here.