The monograph is the written presentation of a single research topic . In the monograph, we analyze and describe the topic or issue in question in a deep and systematic way. Many educational institutions require a monograph as a final requirement for graduation. What is research monograph?
The word monograph has its origin in monkeys (one) and graphein (writing). As Umberto Eco puts it in his book How to do a thesis : “A monograph is the treatment of a single topic and as such is opposed to a ‘history of’, a manual, an encyclopedia”. That is, the monograph is not telling the story of someone or something, or a simple compilation of words.
To carry out a monograph it is essential to carry out a methodical investigation . This research involves looking for information in libraries, bookstores, newspaper libraries, the internet, and other reliable and verifiable sources. Not all research has to do with experimental work, it can also be theoretical approaches.
Within the monograph, the author also reflects on the findings found. In his book How to make a monograph , Délcio Viera Salomon states: “Without reflection, the monograph becomes ‘a simple account of the search procedure’ or ‘compilation of other people’s works’ or ‘mediocre dissemination'”. What is research monograph?
For Délcio Viera Salomon: “the monograph occupies (…) the apex of a pyramid, whose base is the methods and practices of efficient study, superimposed by a body of reflections on research and scientific works”.
Parts of a monograph
The monograph normally consists of three parts: introduction, development and conclusion.
The introduction is the presentation of the work topic. The objective of the introduction is to place the reader in what is known about the problem in question and its importance. It must be clear, simple and synthetic. Grand historical introductions and ambitious speeches should be avoided.
The purpose of the development is to expose and demonstrate what the author or researcher proposes in the research work. That is, the researcher becomes an exhibitor, explaining and discussing the ideas presented.
How to make a monograph step by step
1. Choice of topic
The first stage in the process of preparing a monograph is to choose the subject or topic to be discussed. Choosing a topic means:
- Prefer a question or problem according to our own inclinations and possibilities;
- Discover a relevant problem that deserves to be investigated.
We must also take into account certain external elements when choosing the topic:
- Available time.
- Existence of bibliography and reference material.
- Possibility of consulting specialists on the subject and access to information sources.
- Economic budget that we have.
For example, a monograph on how astronauts live on the International Space Station without being able to access them, or any other information about it, does not make sense. What is research monograph?
2. Bibliographic search
The bibliographic search is nothing more than getting all the information available on the subject we are investigating: books, magazines, press articles, photographs and images, audiovisual programs, among others, are tools that we can use to learn and inquire about the subject.
Today, the internet is the fastest growing data collection method. Without a doubt, it is a valuable tool, but we must know how to use it.
The source is the material from which we directly extract what interests us in the elaboration of our work. There are primary and secondary sources. In the primary sources we find first-hand the material for our work. Secondary sources, for their part, have already made use of primary sources, and refer to them.
So we are building the bibliography. Organizing a bibliography is to get in touch with everything that has been done in relation to the subject that we are going to discuss. This search must be systematic and thorough. What is research monograph?
In the documentation we choose in an orderly manner the material that will lead us to the solution of the problem studied. Documentation requires intelligence work: the timely choice of the elements to be exploited.
We must follow a reading plan of the collected material. First we read the most up-to-date and important ones.
Documentation will greatly benefit from the use of documentation or job tabs . The documentation sheets can contain summaries of the consulted works, the citations of those works and the personal ideas that arose when consulting the work. The documentation must meet the following requirements:
- Accuracy : objectivity of the content and precision of the origin of the documents. We must be careful not to place our personal appreciations so as not to compromise the veracity of the transcripts. What is research monograph?
- Usefulness: it is convenient to transcribe the texts that may be useful in the dissertation and those that are difficult to consult, as well as any data that may be useful in solving the problem.
- Integrity : the documentation must collect all the information useful to the work.
4. Criticism of the documentation
Criticism is a value judgment on a certain material. Two types of criticism are distinguished: external and internal. In external criticism we evaluate the authenticity and provenance of the consulted text. In internal criticism we examine the content and meaning of documents.
In construction we select the material and classify it in the order we want to use it. For this, we can use a transitory index that will serve as a work plan. For example: in a research on sustainable development in Mexico, we would have the following index: What is research monograph?
Table of Contents
2. Historical background
3. Sustainable development objectives
4. Environmental crisis in Mexico
5. Economic and social crisis in Mexico
6. Measures of the Mexican government
6.1 Short term
6.2 Long term
6.3 Alliances with other governments
7. Indicators of the sustainable development
The documentation sheets collected are classified according to the corresponding chapter or section. For example, everything that is related to laws is classified in “measures of the government of Mexico”. If we get information on the pacts between Mexico and the United States, we classify it into “alliances with other governments”, and so on.
This does not mean that this index is the final one, it simply serves as a guide to logically classify the documentation sheets that we have made. What is research monograph?
Corresponds to put “in writing” the development of the topic. With massive access to computers and word processors, the newsroom reduced its level of technical complexity in a phenomenal way. It does not mean, however, that it does not require discipline and effort.
Stages of writing
We could divide this stage into three phases: draft, corrected version and final version.
In the draft we begin to capture the ideas following the order of the transitory index and the notes taken on our cards.
The draft becomes a corrected version as we read, write and correct. Here enter the figures, images, order of the bibliography and index. It will be useful to give this version to another person to have their appreciation and suggestions. What is research monograph?
The final version must comply with the standards required by the institution where the monograph is to be presented. The Manual of Publications of the American Psychological Association or APA standards , as it is widely known, presents a set of guidelines and rules to follow for the written presentation of works. These standards help standardize written work and improve reader understanding.
The body of the monograph is the writing of the development . It includes all the chapters of the monograph except the introduction and the conclusion. The characteristics of the development have to be objectivity, clarity and simplicity. We must avoid useless ramblings, repetitions, literary adornment, and an excess of figures and metaphors with a stylistic effect.
The conclusions constitute the final chapter of the monograph . They must be presented concisely and without personal judgment, since it is a review of the proposals that the author arrived at through his research. In the conclusion, the hypotheses that were not proven and those that deserve further study should be taken up.
In practice, the introduction is the last part to be written . After putting together most of the body of the work, we write an introduction that is like the “appetizer” of the monograph, a brief presentation of what the reader will achieve next. What is research monograph?
Plagiarism in monographs
Copying the information we use in our work without acknowledging that it was someone else’s work is plagiarism. For this reason, when we are writing the monograph we must place quotes or phrases from other people in quotation marks and verbatim, and give them the credit they deserve.