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Facilities and difficulties in the construction of the monograph: what do the nursing graduates think?

Thelma SpindolaI; Alba Lúcia Castelo BrancoII; Vinícius Rodrigues Fernandes da FonteIII; Karla Temistocles de Brito DantasIV

I PhD in Nursing. Assistant Professor at Nursing school of the University of Rio de Janeiro State. Brazil. E-mail: tspindola.uerj@gmail.com
II Phd in Nursing. Assistant Professor at Nursing School of the University of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil. E-mail: albacbranco@gmail.com
III Degree in nursing from the University Veiga de Almeida. Specialized in Adolescent Health Residency Program of the University Hospital Pedro Ernesto and in Human Sexuality by the College Fundation of Medicine of the São Paulo University. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. E-mail: vinicius-fonte@hotmail.com
IV Degree in Nursing by the University of Rio de Janeiro State. Specialized and Resident in Nursing by the Brazilian Navy. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. E-mail: Karlatemistocles@bol.com.br



A qualitative and descriptive study, with the objective of knowing the factors that interfere in the construction of nursing student’s monograph. Held at the Nursing College of the University of Rio de Janeiro State, with 22 students, being 10 of the 8th grade and 12 of 9th grade, by applying a semi-structured interview after approval of the Committee of Ethics in Research. The thematic analysis of the results indicates that there are obstacles and facilitators in the process of construction of the monograph. The workload of the internship and the monograph made in groups makes the process harder, however a good relationship with the supervisor and the participation in activities of research and extension facilitate the development of scientific work. It can be concluded that the construction of the monograph approach the nursing students of scientific research.

Keywords: Higher education; teaching; research; nursing.



The object of this study is the perception in the elaboration of the graduation monograph.  Monograph can be defined as a scientific research on a single subject, carried out individually or in a group, in accordance to institutional guidelines¹. In this research, monograph has the meaning of a research work, carried out by graduate students, being one of the requirements to finish the course.

It is understood as research or method of systematic research, which aims at obtaining knowledge, discovery of answers and problem solving about reality. Scientific research is a more sophisticated method of obtaining of knowledge involving logical reasoning to other methods, aimed at the solution of problems in a reliable way2.

A scientific research promotes the development of graduate students´ skills as critical thinking and logical reasoning. The elaboration of the final project report is an important academic activity in the formation of the student in research, because it favors the development of reading skills, concepts and techniques related to scientific work and on the analysis of articles text production3.

In the curriculum of nursing college of the University of Rio de Janeiro State (FE/UERJ), the subject of research was incorporated from 1973, in order to approach and encourage both students and teachers to the research practice. For 20 years, the content provided and implemented strategies could not intervene in the fragility of knowledge expressed by students taking them, at different times, to refer to the survey as something not too important and difficult to achieve due to the structure of education adopted4.

The research subject was offered for the 2nd period of graduation and for the 9th period, in different qualifications, until 1996. From this date, the curriculum was reformulated in FE/UERJ and the research content was stated to be offered in 1st, 5th, 8th and 9th period of the graduation. In this new configuration, there was the interest in knowing how student of the 8th and 9th periods experience the construction of graduation monograph and the factors that influence this process.

For the development of the study, it was defined this guiding question: What are the factors that influence the process of construction of the graduation monograph of nursing students?

To answer this question, it was delimited as research objective: to know the factors that interfere in the construction of the monograph, described by graduate students in nursing.

This study is relevant as soon as enable the teachers and students to reflect on the process of teaching and develop researches at graduation, a fact that encourages the future professionals to act scientifically in the different realities of nursing work. The research allows, also, a reorientation of the contents and practices implemented in the FE/UERJ, contributing to review the contents and strategies adopted in this area.  



Nursing has its practice grounded in the Science of care. Its career in the scientific field searches to produce essential knowledge to support, through rigorous and systematic methods5. During graduation, students are guided to do the practice of research, through the defense of the monograph, being a prerequisite and required to achieve the degree of Bachelor in nursing.

Although the research be consolidated at the universities, teaching and in its stricto sensu post-graduation programs, masters and doctorates, it becomes increasingly necessary for the participation of nurses in the development of researches for care practice problems to be solved and to gain prominence in the scientific scenario.

Graduation from FE/UERJ has a total workload of 5850 hours and subjects offered are arranged in three main areas and subareas: care area; key area; biological and social bases of nursing area. The research subarea has the key area integrated by the subareas: Nursing Research; Education in Nursing; Working process administration and nursing services and historical-philosophical bases of nursing practice.   

The contents of research are developed in four phases: Research in Nursing I (1st period) – the time which students approach the concepts of scientific methodology and undertake a bibliographic survey of their choice, in some cases with the suggestion and collaboration of the professor, so the thematic scope the goal of the subject. Nursing Research II (5th period) – study the elements that are in the research with quantitative and qualitative approaches, and develop a research project, usually associated with the projects in which act in scientific research, extension, or related to the contents of the subjects of the 5th period, having a curricular integration. And in 8th and 9th periods (Nursing Research III and IV) is the moment in which the students develop the graduation monograph, with the preparation of a project (8th period) and final report (9th period). In FE/UERJ the monograph was performed individually in pairs or group of three.

The subarea of research offered to students of the last periods is organized in order to prepare the student in the structuring of the monograph, in a dynamics and participative process. Strategies are adopted that include circular dialogue, the handling of research, classroom exercises and seminars. Some contents are reviewed and others, related to the analysis and interpretation of results in quantitative and qualitative approaches, are introduced to support in the preparation of the final report of the survey. The subject of research, along with the monograph, allows the students to deepen the knowledge in research and study of the professional problems, knowing the methodological requirements for the preparation of a scientific work and improving the skills in writing and reading6.

The graduate curriculum of FE/UERJ seeks to promote the critical thinking and reflective, aiming to integrate knowledge to articulate teaching and service to graduate education with the post-graduate, linking them to the research and the extension. To encourage the students to carry out scientific work, as well as encourage them to participate in the scientific initiation projects or extension as scholars or volunteers, it was developed the process of teaching and learning research, demystifying it and giving the students the necessary stimulus to the continuous exercise of this practice in future professional life4.



This is a descriptive study in qualitative approach1,7. The study scenario was the Nursing College of UERJ, in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro. The students regularly enrolled in 8th and 9th period that have the subarea of Nursing Research III –monograph I and Nursing Research IV – monograph II, made part of the study.

After approval by the Committee in Ethics of Research of the University Hospital Pedro Ernesto (HUPE) – UERJ (Protocol Nº 1907/2007), were invited to participate in the research students who were finishing the 8th and 9th period (8P and 9P), at the time of data collection, in a total of 70 students. Those interested in participating in the research have scheduled individual interviews, these were carried out by monitor students, previously trained, of the research subarea. The data collection period was in the months of March and April of 2008.

The interviews occurred in a reserved area, at the FE/UERJ, helping by an electronic device Media Player 3 (MP3), after prior acquiescence of the students, with the signing of the Informed and Free Consent.

It was applied the semi-structured interview, where the interviewee can expose his opinion on the subject7. It took the saturation criterion of information to complete the collection of data, which occurred with 22 interviews, being 12 students (8P) and 10 (9P). For the processing of data, thematic analysis was used, understood as a set of research techniques that, by Reading and interpretation of the content of any type of document, allows analysis aiding in understanding of their meanings. In their preparation, the following steps have been adopted: pre-analysis, exploration of material and processing of result, interference and interpretation.

In the pre-analysis, take place the selection of important documents for the analysis, elaboration of hypotheses and objectives the elements for the final assessments are established. To explore the material purchased, it is necessary to have completed the steps of pre-analysis, and from this, it is the transformation of the data obtained on results related to the study. The treatment, interference and interpretation of results are carried out from meaningful results for the research, with the objectives outlined earlier.



In the process of analysis of the interviews, were configured categories and subcategories: the 1st category factors that hamper the process of construction of the monograph included subcategories – workload and activities developed in the boarding school; the construction of group work; and time mismatch for guidance. The 2nd category factors that facilitate the construction process emerge subcategories – good relationship with the supervisor; work related to the theme of scientific research and/or extension activities; and the contribution of research subarea in the preparation of the monograph.

Factors that hinder the process of construction of the monograph

Workload and activities developed in the boarding school

The workload and activities in the boarding school (8P and 9P) of graduation in Nursing at UERJ were flagged as difficult factors to the development of the monograph as denote the following descriptions:

[...] the time we have to build the Project and deliver it, on our boarding time[...]. It is difficult to you to build a project and at the same time having to go to several [practical activities spaces]. Then, the worst thing is the time. (S2 – 8P)

[...] time, we have to work the construction of the Project, the final report and everything along with boarding school that has a demand, a very large workload, little time left for construction of monograph [...]. (S10 – 9P)

The students, in their reports, indicate that the time for the preparation of the research project (8P) and final report (9P), is a factor that make difficult the elaboration of the monograph, because it was considered that must reconcile the development of research with the practical activities of the boarding school. The lack of time emerges in reports related to negative feelings such as anxiety, nervousness and anxiety in accomplishing the tasks within the deadlines proposed. In a study carried out in São Paulo, the monograph was associated with lower levels in quality of life pointed by nursing students9.

In FE/UERJ student’s experience, at 8P and 9P, in the boarding school, with a work load of 2160 hours equally divided. During this time, students are immersed in practical activities of the supervised internship in the University Hospital Pedro Ernesto, in the federal municipality of Rio de Janeiro.

Although the students have available the subjects of Nursing Research, the construction of the monograph requires dedication outside the classroom. It is needed commitment to literature review, data collection and analysis and textual elaboration. In this sense, the study stresses that the activities of the monograph and field activities are stressors factors for students10. Another study found that graduate students experience the complexity and novelty of the search process with feelings of insecurity, living with little time to understand the process of the research, judging the subject as tricky, boring and tiring11.

Elaboration of the final Project in group

Despite the fatigue and overload of activities in boarding school, in the opinion of the students, the construction of the monograph in group does not facilitate the execution of the job. The differences of opinion, the availability and interest of the members may interfere with the preparation of the work, as can be observed in the following descriptions:

[...] and you having to do a job in group, there are things you disagree of your colleague and then you have to discuss to get a common denomination [...] sometimes the person has a different rhythm than you. (S7 – 8P)

[...) the fact they are four people has its positive side, but it has many negative sides, that is the divergence of opinions, which makes it difficult to build the work [...] (S8 – 9P).

In the students´ speeches was identified that they associate the divergence of opinion and the attitude in the development of work as factors that hinder the attainment of group activity. Thus, aspects related to the individually of each student overlap the implementation of group work.

Opposing this thought, authors claim that the group work promotes interaction between students and the quality of learning and the acquisition of new knowledge12. Thus, the student who performs research in nursing graduation acquires a more critical view of the world, learns to work as a team and have penchant of self-learning13. The monograph in group, for some students in FE/UERJ, favors the optimization of time and decreases the individual overload in carrying out the work, but also allows the interaction between students, enabling the improvement of social skills and the inclusion of the members12.

Difficulty of reconciling time for guidance.

The incompatibility of work orientation time also was described as a factor that hinders the building of the monograph, making an activity very strenuous.
 [...] my advisor is a very busy person and she was not Always available, she travels a lot. Then, sometimes, I was very lost [...]. (S1 – 8P)

In FE/UERJ, students are free to choose the guiding teacher of the monograph, since they meet certain criteria: be a teacher of the institution and who holds the title of master or doctorate.

The factors that are most associated with the choice are: intimacy and pre-existing relationship teacher/student, availability of guidance by the teacher and experience in the theme chosen by the student. The subjects Nursing Research III and IV provide theoretical knowledge for Project construction and preparation of the final report, in a circular dialogue between research teacher – student – advisors. The meeting with the supervisor, although provided for in the subject schedule, they are agreed between the student/advisor. In the learning strategies, the Exchange of knowledge, reading research analyzing its structure, seminars with the participation of the teachers of the subarea, advisors and other guests. Guiding teacher´s participation in this process is crucial and the harmony of the relationship between the teacher and the student contributes significantly to the success of the work.

The disagreement between authors with the Advisor and vice versa, have already been flagged in a study that pointed the difficulties faced in the implementation on TCC in a education institution14. Not Always the student manages to accept from the Advisor, for the delay in contacting by excess of advisors or by personal and professional questions that prevent at that moment to perform this function. For the development of the work between Advisor-student is necessary for empathy, when that feeling is not established, there may be conflicting situations, namely: divergence between what the student intends to study and what the Advisor advises, availability of time for guidance and the need for understanding anxiety and nervousness of the student for this moment6.

In this sense, research requires an effort of the academic to the acquisition of knowledge about the specific concepts and skills for application in the structuring of the work. In the process of construction, the advice of guiding teacher is essential for the student to overcome his insecurities11.

Factors that facilitate the process of construction

In the interviews, some factors have been pointed as facilitators in the preparation of the monograph as the good relationship with the advisor, the monograph related to the thematic of Scientific Initiation and/or Extension Activity and the aid of the Research Subarea. 

Good relationship with the advisor

In the opinion of the students, the good relationship between the advisor and the student in the development of the monograph becomes essential to guide the structuring of the work according to the following reports:

[...] it is the relationship with the advisor[...] the approach that she used with us (...) it was facilitated the process of construction [...] because of the relationship with the advisor. (S13 – 9P)

[...] the advisors help, the teachers help, then we can guide a little bit in this building because if it was only for us, it would be too loose and we would be lost. (S4 – 8P)

The students´ reports denote that the monograph is a work built in group, being essential the participation of the advisor in this process. Thus, the integration between the guiding teacher and student is important as soon as the teacher assists them in understanding and implementing the required technical standards, as well as to resolve their doubts and in the structuring of the work.

In this sense, a study discussed the factors that hinder the development of a monograph highlighting the role of the advisor in this process and the difficulties for the development of the work when the relationship between teacher and student are not established satisfactorily.6.

Monograph related to the thematic of scientific initiation or extension activity
Some students mentioned that the monograph being a continuity of work developed throughout the program, such as the scientific initiation or extension activities, makes their pleasurable construction by the thematic approach:

I think that a facilitator was me for participating in the scientific initiation, studying the theory that my monograph is based in. (S12 – 8P)

I believe that the advises that I received and this prolonged contact with the supervisor, being of the extension Project is better, because you are already adapted to him[...] the research for us was already easier because we have a very large base of this subject in the extension (S9 – 8P)

In the cut-outs of the description, one can realize that the integration of the students in scientific initiation activities and extension contribute to the choice of the thematic of the monograph, considering the familiarity with the topic. This approach promotes the interest and motivation of the students in the construction of the work15. The activity contributes, also, reducing the time and effort to raise another issue and keeps the same guidance by the relation with the teaching research line.

The involvement of the students with the scientific initiation or extension activities, which are often linked to the research, stimulate the interest of the students in scientific research and its stages, whose learning is a dynamic, complex and subjective process that demands time to its development11. Corroborating with this thought, the study says that the participation of graduation students in scientific initiation enables the growth and opportunity of unlimited learning for academic training, arousing the critical thinking and developing skills for application of the scientific method16.

Study that aimed to know the trend theme of scientific production of graduation monograph noted that the development of research is associated with the immersion time and insertion of graduating to the subject, whether through the extensive workload of some subjects and subareas, participation in scientific initiation and extension projects or experiences of the boarding school17.

The subarea of research assists in the construction of the monograph.

In the opinion of the students, the subarea research is fundamental for the construction of the monograph, offering theoretical and practical basis for the process of preparation of the scientific work as the following reports show:

In every way, because if we had not had all those theoretical and practical knowledge, we would not have been able to structure the work of the way we got it. It was very essential [...]. (S20 – 9P)

During the research classes that we have, they cover quite all they have to do to build a project, the report [...] it is a meaningful support, very important for us. (S15- 9P)

The subarea os research offers support to students assisting them in the process of construction of scientific work, arousing the scientific, critical and reflecting thinking. Teaching- learning strategies are adopted that contribute to the students´ maturity, by actually instrumenting in the art of search.

In this perspective, it is understood that the teacher should be a competent professional, updated, understanding and empathetic with his students, providing an open environment for learning18.



This study sought to describe the factors that are associated with the construction process of the monograph by nursing students. The perception of students, good relationship with the advisor, the theme of the monograph related to scientific initiation and extension activity and the support offered by the research subarea are factors that contribute to success in the process of developing the scientific work.

However, the workload and the specific activities of the boarding school, the preparation of the monograph in group and the time mismatch with the advisor, are difficult factors in structuring of the monograph.

The development of the monograph in the graduation program in nursing approaches the students from the scientific research giving visibility to the work of nurse.
Certainly, the development of this work stimulates interest in the research and contact them with the steps of the scientific methodology, demystifying the act of search.



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Received: 09.09.2012