What is a Monograph for? Main Uses

David Holt
What is a Monograph for? Main Uses

A monograph serves to treat a specific topic methodically and completely; It is intended to inform about a specific object of study. For example, you could do a monograph on the properties of water, talking only about that topic. A monograph can be differentiated from an article mainly by its length.

The term monograph comes from the Greek, being composed of the word monkeys what does it mean only and the word graphein what does it mean written. This clearly denotes the intention of this type of writing, which will be extended on a single topic, clearly and with supported information..

The monograph covers a wide variety of topics, and can be written in various fields, although it is used especially in the academic field, in various areas of knowledge.

For example: the arts, the natural and exact sciences, and more commonly in the social sciences, where research work is constant, and the monograph provides a form of documentation.

However, when referring to a monograph in some areas, the definition may vary. Being the case of the monograph in biology, where it is possible to speak of a taxonomic monograph, where an extensive and detailed study is carried out on a taxon (group of related organisms).

Similarly, when speaking of a monograph in the arts, some book publishers refer to a monograph as a compilation of several works by a single artist, as opposed to compilations of works by different artists in the same book..

Furthermore, in the United States, Food and Drug Administration require the publication of a monograph for the regulation and authorization of substances, in which the safety of use of the products distributed is explained.

It is worth highlighting the use that librarians and book classification experts give to monographs, who define it as a complete and non-serial publication in a volume (one book) or a finite number of volumes, which would result in the opposite of magazines or newspapers, although it can be confusing regarding encyclopedias.

Common uses of monographs. What are they for?

Treatment of general or specific topics

An author will be able to write a topic related to the plastic arts, for example, a monograph on surrealism according to Salvador Dali, without this being a book where the works of said painter are compiled; but where they talk about the surrealist movement and Dalí's conception of it, with theoretical or investigative support.

Discovery Documentation

The monograph, in addition to its obvious purpose to transmit information on a specific topic, is also an important tool, although not always taken into account, for the documentation of discoveries or achievements in various academic areas..

Thus, an advantage that the monograph presents is its similarity to the articles, although of considerably greater length and greater theoretical and / or scientific support in its sources, which makes it a more accessible document, or more direct than a research work such as theses, which require a much more rigorous process when writing.

In a monograph, the author can present greater authority regarding the subject matter, because unlike theses, monographs are not a collection of research works, although they can be used as reference and support.

In this way, in a research monograph, the investigated topic will be discussed based on other previously carried out works, but preferably something new will be contributed to that topic..

For example, if you are going to talk about contemporary music, Other works on the subject will be taken as a reference, but the author can contribute a new perspective or information on the matter.

Synthesis of other works

In addition, the monograph can be written based on a topic or research already covered, without necessarily adding anything new to the topic, but serving as a synthesis of it, and that can be used later as a reference..

The use of the monograph has also been considered as a complement of considerable importance in the academic framework, to be used as a complement, and not as a substitute, for scientific publications in newspapers.

This is due to the fact that the desire for immediacy when publishing a new scientific achievement or finding in the mass media could diminish its importance, although many times it is published in newspapers, magazines and other specialized media..

In this sense, the publication of a monograph together with the scientific article will mean a more detailed treatment of it, and in many cases a more elaborate work, out of the desire for immediacy and a greater extension..


Thanks to the rapid advancement of the internet and the possibilities to transmit and obtain information, the writing of monographs (together with other scientific and research works) have benefited, due to the greater ease of transmitting the document in a massive way and without depending on the filter. from a publisher.

However, this generates the possibility of a greater number of monographs written without sufficient rigor, as a result of inexperience or the possibility of publishing a work for free, which can be overcome by conducting a critical reading and with sufficient criteria to judge the quality and credibility of said contribution.

Thus, the monograph represents a means of documentation in which contributions and knowledge of considerable importance can be reflected on any subject and with great scope due to its similarity with the articles, which allow the reader to delve into a specific topic in a concrete way.


  1. The monograph. Recovered from www.helsinki.fi
  2. Monograph. (2017, July 9). Recovered from en.wikipedia.org
  3. Monograph. (2017, July 9). Recovered from es.wikipedia.org
  4. Taxonomic Monograph. (2017, January 5). Recovered from es.wikipedia.org
  5. What is a monograph. Recovered from www.monogramas.com.

Yet No Comments