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Identifying a Scholarly Monograph

What is a scholarly monograph?


  • One-volume work
  • Gives in-depth treatment to a specialized subject
  • Written by a scholar in the field
  • Written mainly for an academic audience

Here's a sample scholarly monograph on a topic that you might not expect:

cover

Example: Burbick, Joan. Rodeo Queens and the American Dream. New York : Public Affairs, 2002.

How to identify a scholarly monograph


Author information

Look for the “About the Author” page and the “Acknowledgements” page

  • Does the author hold an advanced degree or teach at a university?
  • Has the author written other major works in the field?
  • Does the author acknowledge colleagues at a university, or library, or archives?
  • Did the author receive fellowships or grants that made the writing of the text financially possible?

aboutauthor

Example: “About the author” paragraph from book jacket. May also be found at the beginning or end of the book.

  acknowledgments

Example: Acknowledgements are also usually found either at the beginning or the end of the text.

Publisher information

Most scholarly monographs are published either by university presses or scholarly societies. 

copyrightpage
Example: Check the copyright page to find the publisher of the book.

Works cited/Bibliography/References/Footnotes/Endnotes

A scholarly monograph should have an extensive bibliography that cites some of the following types of sources:

  • Journal articles
  • Primary sources
  • Books by other experts in the field

worksconsulted

  

Example: Works Consulted list in MLA format. 

Additional content

A scholarly monograph should have an index near the end of the book and most have appendices or notes as well.

index

Example of an index

How to navigate a scholarly monograph


  • To find out if a particular monograph might meet your research needs:
    • Skim the introduction and/or preface.
    • Read through the table of contents.
  • If you need to use a scholarly monograph to find specific facts for your research or for an exam, but don’t want to read the whole thing:
    • Use the index to look up terms related to the information you need.
    • Use chapter titles and subheadings to narrow your search.
    • Scan the text quickly and extensively to find what you need.
  • If you are reading the text for a class or to write an analytical essay:
    • Read closely. Scholarly monographs are usually much denser than popular literature and may be difficult to digest.
    • Reread passages that are unclear.
    • Read difficult sections aloud.
    • Check some of the citations that the author has listed. You might find additional sources for your own research.
    • Evaluate the arguments presented to see whether they answer your research questions, support or contradict your own research, and whether or not they make sense to you.