Now that you have successfully written your dissertation. It is time to write the acknowledgment section. It is the part where you thank all those people who have helped you during the research process. This includes professional and personal acknowledgments. So feel free to include anyone you would want.
It should not be longer than one page and appears right after the title page but before the abstract. In the acknowledgments, you can use a more informal style of writing.
It does not necessarily have to be academic writing as this is not part of the academic work itself. You are free to make it more personal, and this is why you should use first-person pronouns.
Also, you can search Google for the acknowledgment section with your university name. You will find the format. Or you can also find a lot of sample acknowledgment in this blog.
Who should you thank in an acknowledgement?
Now, here is the important part. Who has made the list? Like I stated earlier, there are two categories: personal and professional. Some university students allow their students to acknowledge all those who have contributed directly to the content. These include academic members and other professionals. You should look into your university guidelines to look into more.
You can acknowledge the professional and personal people in whichever order you choose. Usually, there is no rule. However, it’s best to thank the professionals first then move on to the personal. So you would want to start with funders, supervisors, academics, colleagues, and then family and friends in that order.
Ideally, it would be best if you only wanted to mention the people who supported you directly in this dissertation. However, if you felt that someone inspired you to take this path early in life, you can mention that individual too. It’s fine to make an exception in this case.
You can keep it simple, or you can elaborate, depending on how the person helped you out. It’s best to keep it simple in some cases like only mention a simple thank you. In others, you might want to elaborate more. Perhaps provide a couple of lines on how the person helped you out.
While writing an acknowledgement for a dissertation, you should begin with the professionals. When you are thanking them, you should ensure you don’t leave out anyone. It might backfire and you don’t want that. The members who contributed to your research might be:
- Lab assistants
- Research participants
When you are writing about them, make sure you mention full names with titles. If an organization helped you, only mention their names. And if you want to protect someone’s privacy, you should only use the first name.
If a renowned researcher gave you feedback on your research, you should mention him in the acknowledgment section. Mentioning this will help to strengthen your research.
Of course, there is always the problem of thanking the supervisor. Some students believe that the supervisor did not put in enough effort. Therefore, they do not deserve the acknowledgment. While that may be true, you must give them acknowledgment anyway. If you don’t do it, it will come across as unprofessional. It might even seem like a snub, so you should thank them.
Now that you have the professionals covered, you can move on to your family or friends. There is no need to mention all of these people individually and by name. You can just mention them as a group. However, if someone helped you out more than others, you can name them and write a couple of lines about them. That’s about it.
Some people have a deceased family member whom they would like to write a heartfelt acknowledgment to. In this case, you should mention these people earlier. You can acknowledge God, but then make sure that you follow it by thanking the rest of the people who helped you to complete this dissertation.
You can use the following samples to begin writing your acknowledgments. These are just to get you started. You can mold the acknowledgments according to your university requirements and what you see fit.
- I want to begin by thanking my supervisor, Professor X, who helped me at every step of the way. Without them, I would have been stuck.
- I want to acknowledge the efforts of Professor Y. She inspired me to choose this field.
- I also want to thank my research partner, Dr Z, who took out the time to explain the intricacies of research. Without her constant support and guidance, I would be lost.
If you are running out of words or have no idea how to begin, you should just start each sentence with ‘I would like to thank’ or ‘I would like to acknowledge’ and take it from there. You can then elaborate on these sentences by talking about the role they played in your research. Just write what comes from the heart.
Since this is not part of academic writing, or even something formal, you can personalize it according to what feels right. There is also no need for a conclusion in this part. You can just sign off on the acknowledgment with the last thank you.
If you are still stuck and don’t know how to begin, you can always take inspiration from your journey. You can mention what got you started down this road and what it was like.
Since it’s your journey, you are free to talk about the bumps and roads you might have faced along the way. However, remember since there is no minimum length, you can get carried away. Just make sure you don’t end up writing too much. Stick to the length of one page, and you are there.
Just remember to be thankful along the way. The acknowledgment section is about thanking other people for their guidance and input. You can write a long acknowledgment the first time and then cut that out by summarizing the main points. This will make the acknowledgment section more concise and appropriate. You will also have managed to fit in everything.
If you havent still written your dissertation you can check this post on how to write your best dissertation.