How to Write the Acknowledgements Section?
Acknowledgements section is where you recognize everyone who has helped you during the research and writing process. It’s not simply a method of expressing gratitude; it’s also a way of acknowledging that you needed support along the way.
There is no way that a dissertation can be finished by a single individual. Surely, you’ve had help along the process, whether in the form of moral support or advice on the thesis itself.
This is one of the few sections of a dissertation where you have the freedom to add your personal touch.
The dissertation acknowledgements should generally be one page long and appear after the title page and before the abstract.
You can use a more informal approach in the acknowledgements than is typically allowed in academic writing. This isn’t a part of your academic work; instead, it’s an opportunity for you to express something more personal. As a result, first-person pronouns are acceptable in this section.
Check your University Requirements
The first step is to check with your university to determine if there are any rules or restrictions on what you may include in your dissertation’s acknowledgments. Some universities impose word or page limitations.
Others may place restrictions on the sorts of things you may say, but we haven’t seen many. Universities understand that it takes a village to raise a dissertation, and they want to provide you with sufficient opportunities to thank those who have contributed to your success.
Who can you thank?
In general, there are two categories of people you may thank. People who assisted you in researching and writing the dissertation are listed in your professional acknowledgments, whereas people who offered non-academic assistance are listed in your personal acknowledgments.
Only individuals who have directly contributed to the material, such as academics and other professionals, are allowed to be acknowledged at some universities. Check your university’s rules to see if there are any restrictions.
It’s a good idea to start with the professional acknowledgments. The traditional order is to go from most formal to least formal, however there is no fixed rule.
Let’s take a look at each category separately.
These are persons who, in their professional or academic capacity, assisted you with your dissertation. They may have given resources, helped you in formulating the dissertation’s focus and main arguments, or played an important part in data gathering.
They may have also walked you through a significant portion of your study’s methods and approach, or enabled you to participate in their own research project for practice.
It’s critical not to overlook anyone who may have assisted you along the way, particularly those in the professional sphere.
You should acknowledge the academics and funders who helped you with your research.
- Supervisors or advisors
- Laboratory staff
- Peers and colleagues who may have helped you
- Organizations or institutions that lent you support
- Research participants
- Editors and/or proofreaders
You may be required by certain institutions to acknowledge your editors and proofreaders. Check with your university’s policies to determine if this is necessary.
When it comes to titles, make sure to utilize full names. If multiple people from a group or organization helped you, just mention the group’s or organization’s name. Use simply their first name or a generic identification if you want to protect their privacy.
If you had a discussion with an authoritative individual in your field of study or received feedback in any way, acknowledging their contribution, however small, can help to strengthen the authority of your own research.
After acknowledging all of the people that helped you in completing the dissertation, you might acknowledge those in your own life who have inspired or encouraged you as you worked on the project.
There’s no need to name everyone in your family or group of friends. You may want to highlight someone in particular if they were particularly inspiring or encouraging.
- Family members
Keep in mind that it’s preferable to thank those who supported you while you were working on your dissertation.
Include funding information in this area
Thank your financial supporters in addition to appreciating the academic effort and moral support that helped you accomplish the dissertation. This includes any awards or scholarships you’ve received, as well as funding organizations and private contributors.
Is it okay if I acknowledge a member of my family first?
Personal acknowledgments may be particularly important and sincere for certain people, especially if the study was done at a difficult time. Some students prefer to dedicate their dissertation to a deceased family member; in this instance, the dedication should come first, followed by any professional acknowledgments.
Is it okay if I acknowledge God?
You may mention God in your dissertation, but be sure to recognize the members of academia, as well as family and friends who assisted you.
Is it okay if I acknowledge a pet?
Yes! During the research and writing process, some students choose to express gratitude to their pet for providing company or comfort. You may absolutely include them if you believe they assisted you in some manner, but it’s not a good idea to put your cat ahead of your supervisor or funding bodies!
How to write the acknowledgements section?
You don’t need to spend much time thinking about an introduction or a conclusion; simply start with “I’d like to thank you” and explain how they helped with the project. Similarly, you might close with a final thank you.
In terms of acknowledgment structure and organization, prioritize the order based on the type of help they provided. Traditionally, professional acknowledgments must come first, followed by personal acknowledgments.
Since the acknowledgments section is not part of the dissertation body, you can use a more informal writing style here. While you have the ability to deviate from traditional academic writing conventions, it’s preferable to keep things concise and professional.
Write their complete names and titles when thanking your academic collaborators.
- Professor Charles Wodehouse
- Robert Sullivan, PhD
If you got assistance from any public or private organizations or institutions, make a list of their full names.
- The New York Public Library
- Child Rights and You, London Chapter
To begin, consider the following samples of popular acknowledgment sentences:
- I’d want to express my gratitude to Nikola Tesla, my supervisor, for his advice throughout the process.
- Professor S. Jobs is to thank for inspiring my interest in the development of innovative technologies.
- Dr. Jane Goodall, my research partner, was important in determining the direction of my research. I am really appreciative for this.
There is no need to include a conclusion or summary at the end. Your last thank you might bring the acknowledgments to an end.
Where should the Acknowledge Section be?
The acknowledgments section follows the title page and before the abstract. While this is the general rule, check your university’s rules to see if this page has a specific place.
How long should the Acknowledgements Section be?
This section should usually be no more than a page long. It might be as brief as a single paragraph or as long as the entire page. The length of this section is determined by the number of people you wish to thank.
Can I add humor to Acknowledgements section?
Dissertations may be dry, so adding a little humor can make it more enjoyable for both you and the reader — and a little humor in the acknowledgments part is okay.
Avoid using critical (or self-critical) humor or casting someone in a negative light. Keep in mind that this paper will most likely be reviewed by prospective employers.
While it is okay to be funny or amusing in this section, be sure that it retains the professional tone that is expected of a dissertation.
Here are a few examples of researchers who put their sense of humor to good use on paper:
- “Lastly, I’d like to thank Jacques Derrida, whose pedantic observations about language have furthered research in my field considerably.”
- “My deepest gratitude goes to Rico, my parrot, who, perched on my shoulder daily, provided unwavering support and unexpected moments of wisdom.”
It is seen that a surprising number of students submit proposal drafts with the Acknowledgments Section completed. “The more parts I do now, the less I’ll have to do later,” the reasoning goes. It’s also understandable that filling up a part that doesn’t require any citations is tempting.
While there’s nothing wrong with planning out your acknowledgments section ahead of time, it’s preferable to store it apart from your proposal draft. Your Chair and committee members may find it unusual to be acknowledged before they’ve finished helping you through the dissertation process, as acknowledgments are intended to be written retroactively.
You might even limit yourself to only writing the preface. It’s a little redundant to do both, considering they’re essentially the same thing. It is unnecessary to thank individuals before and after the main work.
Thank those who assisted you and provide some more information about the document in the preface. You can choose which of these two options is preferable for your dissertation.
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