Steps to Develop a Monograph

Writing Policy for Monograph
Policy on Academic Integrity
What a Monograph Is... Isn't
Steps to Develop a Monograph
How Does the Monograph Proposal Differ from the Completed Monograph?
Personal Checklist and Timetable for Monograph
MCM Monograph Writing Standards 

Steps to Develop a Monograph

Step 1: Select a topic.
Step 2: Secure approval (modification, if necessary) of the topic by the MCM Academic Council.
Step 3: Select members of the Monograph Support Group.
Step 4: Develop the Monograph Proposal.
Step 5: Secure approval (modification, if necessary) of the proposal by the MCM Academic Council.
Step 6: Conduct research/collect information.
Step 7: Write/edit the monograph.
Step 8: Submit the monograph.

Each of the eight steps in the monograph development process is discussed below.

Step One:

Select a Topic

MCM candidates are responsible for choosing the topics for their monograph.

The MCM Academic Council will evaluate a topic by considering the topics:

  • Feasibility;
  • Originality;
  • Usefulness; and
  • Interest and relevance to the club industry.

In considering their topics, candidates should:

  1. Evaluate several possible topics of special interest to them. Review information already available about each topic.
  2. Examine each potential topic for its feasibility, including the resources available to support their specific research effort.
  3. Consider the general interest of members of the club industry in the topic.
  4. Explore personal interests and consider their background, expertise and career goals. Generally, choose topics that are suitable to personal strengths.
  5. Pick a manageable topic. The topic must note other important work in the field, both within and outside of the club industry. Do not choose a topic that is either overly broad (which will make it impossible to adequately address) or too narrow (so that no one else will care about the results). For example, the topic “Employee Motivation in the Club Industry” is too broad. There are (probably) hundreds of factors that affect motivation. Instead select one possible factor (such as the role of training in the motivation of employees) as the topic.

A monograph focusing on “Factors in the Redesign of the Kitchen at XYZ Club” is too narrow. Instead, you might study generic issues of importance to kitchen design in clubs.

Topics To Avoid

  1. Do not choose a topic about which your conclusions will be irrelevant — and no one will care!
  2. Do not choose a topic if the literature already provides ALL information necessary to understand the topic.
  3. Do not choose a topic that is so broad that you will never be able to properly complete your work.

Suggestions for Obtaining Ideas

  1. Consider problems that are often difficult for club managers to resolve — especially those for which you have provided a unique solution at your club(s).
  2. Think about issues that other managers cite as problems.
  3. Keep an idea notebook.
  4. Read existing MCM monographs.
  5. Do significant research on the topic that you are considering.

Step Two:

Secure Approval of a Topic by the MCM Academic Council

The proposed monograph topic should be submitted with the Professional Data Form (PDF).

Step Three:

Select Members of the Monograph Support Group

This topic is discussed separately in Part 3.0 on page 36.

Step Four:

Develop the Monograph Proposal

After approval (modification, if necessary) of the monograph topic and, with the help of the MCM Monograph Support Group, prepare a proposal including an outline, survey and draft if applicable, which suggests what you want to do and how you propose to do it.

Here is a sample outline for the MCM monograph proposal. Question/issues to address in each section are introduced to explain what each section should accomplish.

  1. A Statement of the Problem
    The problem or area that the monograph will address is ... (why is this important?).
  2. A Brief Review of the Literature
    Persons who have already talked and/or written about my topic include... .
    Other investigations/research into my topic include....
  3. Proposed Research Methods
    The method(s) used to answer my question(s) and/or to gain more information to help answer my question(s) will be... .
    Some previous studies that have used my method(s) of investigation are...
  4. Results, Discussion and Implications
    How do I plan to organize the results of my study?
    How will I make sure that my conclusions have practical application?

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Proposal

  • Is the problem clear, capable of investigation and able to be answered?
  • Have you positioned your problem within the context of previous studies?
  • Is your proposed method of investigation suitable for finding an answer to your problem?
  • Is the topic within your range of competence?
  • Can you complete your study within a reasonable time?
  • Is the way you will address your problem logical?
  • Does my approach allow me to use the abilities of my Monograph Support Group? Have the members approved the proposal?
  • In addition to the outline discussed above, the proposal should also contain a brief literature review (what have others reported on the topic?), a description of the research method(s) to be used and a draft of the survey, if applicable.

Step Five:

Secure Approval of the Proposal by the MCM Academic Council Your monograph proposal will enable MCM Academic Council members to gain a better understanding of your monograph plans. The proposal can be submitted anytime after the MCM Academic Council has approved the monograph topic. Feedback/approval of the proposal will be given within 45 days after its submission.

Before you continue developing your monograph, you should once again carefully consider your proposal and make changes as necessary, since the proposal should drive the development and writing of your monograph.

Step Six:

Conduct Research/Collect Information

The word “research” means “to seek out again.” Research for the MCM monograph involves seeking ideas suggested and material developed by others and putting these together in new ways or discovering something about them that has never been known.

An objective research method requires one to gather facts and to interpret them in a way that will enable conclusions to be drawn. Think of the MCM monograph as a report that you will present to club managers about the conclusions you have reached after you have thoroughly investigated, organized and analyzed information about a subject.

As you undertake research on your topic, you will likely discover three types of evidence:

  • Facts – Pieces of information that can be objectively observed and measured.
  • Inferences – Statements about the unknown made on the basis of what is known.
  • Judgments – Expressions of someone’s approval or disapproval of something being described, generally (hopefully!) based on some evidence.

Perhaps the most difficult determination that you will need to make is to decide which of the three types of evidence you are learning about when you read something or talk to someone.


When you conduct your research, keep a notebook with the following items:

  • Sources Section – Names and addresses of people you may want to interview or survey and books, journal citations and Internet addresses that are relevant to your topic.
  • Research Strategy Section – Notes about questions regarding your topic, possible sources for answers and thoughts about how to approach these sources.
  • Reading Section: notes about what you have read relative to your topic. When collecting information, you will find that it is of two types:
    1. Secondary Information – Generic information applicable to your topic, which provides some background information.
    2. Primary Information – Specific information directly applicable to your project. Primary information generally comes from interviews and from written surveys.

Interview Basics

Interview basics include:

  • Having written questions relating directly to your project goal.
  • Asking everyone the same questions.
  • Having questions written with space to record abbreviated responses.
  • Using both open- and closed-ended questions.
  • Summarizing your responses into your database as soon as possible after the interview.
  • When developing surveys, remembering that all questions should directly relate to the project. Don’t ask “nice to know” questions.
  • Recognizing that neatness, spelling and format really count.

Survey Questions

There are four basic types of survey questions:

  • Yes/No (Would you use carry-out service?).
  • Multiple/Alternate Choice (How often would you use a carryout service monthly? Answers could be [Never; 1-2 times; More than 4 times]).
  • Scale (Rate how important carry-out service is to you: response choices could range from 1 [not important; irrelevant] to 5 [very important; critical).
  • Open-ended (What are your views about carry-out service?).

Detailed explanations about survey statistics are well beyond the purpose of this discussion. However, it is typically best to have at least 30 responses from each group of persons being interviewed and/or surveyed. (A candidate should discuss specific statistical issues relevant to his/her project with an appropriate member of his/her MCM Monograph Support Group.)

Step Seven:

Write/Edit the Monograph

As noted above, the monograph will likely have several parts. The proposal drives the development of the monograph itself. One common organizational format for a professional report follows.


This section should include those individuals that assisted you with your monograph.

Executive Summary

This abstract of your monograph briefly (less than one page) summarizes your project goal(s), methodology and major findings (recommendations). If it is succinct, well written and relevant to the reader’s needs, the Executive Summary will encourage the reader to read the monograph itself.

Statement of the Problem

This section begins the monograph. It describes your topic, tells why it is of concern and explains the importance of your approach to the topic.

Review of the Literature

In the Review of the Literature section, you must present the relationship between your current study and previous work done on the topic. It should provide a logical flow of information from that known previously to the beginning of your own research.

By the end of the section and as you further describe your study, the reader should be thinking, “Of course, the need for this monograph is clear, and it is important to the club industry.”

You will know you have done enough study for the literature review when the articles and books you are reading become redundant; you are not learning anything new from further study of the reference sources.

When you take notes for the literature review, keep track of complete references. This will save you from the task of having to retrieve information such as a page number or publication date that will be necessary for a complete citation when you write your monograph.

Internet Literature Review Assistance

Many resources are available to researchers through the Internet. For instance, see the Colorado State University Writer’s Center site at:

The “Writing Guides” link site features a section on “Guides to Library, Internet and Field Research.” In this section, an introduction to research processes is provided in addition to information about:

  • Conducting electronic searches;
  • Using the World Wide Web;
  • Using other Internet resources;
  • Using library catalogs; and
  • Using databases and electronic indexes.

Statements of Method(s) for Study

The Method section follows from the problem statement and review of the literature. In this section you should describe the steps you used to conduct your research. The method section contains:

  1. The Subjects – People, organizations, events or material you are studying
  2. The Instruments or Measures – How and what you used to learn about your topic. (These can include surveys, behavioral observations, interviews and/or the examination of existing material.)
  3. The Procedures – Processes you used to conduct your study. How did you select your participants and when, where and how was the data collected?

Also, to explain what you did not try to do (so that you don’t do too much), you may present a section called “Limitations of the Study.”


The Results section clearly presents your findings. You may include tables, figures and/or interview summaries.

In your Discussion/Implications section, you should review your findings with respect to previous studies. You should also suggest implications of the research, limitations that may affect how managers or others use information from your study and your recommendations for future study. This is the area where you make recommendations about how others can make use of the monograph information.


The References section should include citations to which you refer throughout the monograph.


This section should include supportive information that is detailed and helpful to understanding the project, but that might interrupt the flow of information if it were included in the body of the monograph.

Step Eight:

Submit the Monograph

If the monograph is submitted by October 1 (year 2) and if only minor, if any, modifications are needed, you will be able to make an oral presentation to the MCM Academic Council members as well as an educational presentation to the attendees of the CMAA World Conference.