By Susan Carter
Acknowledgements pages show the essence of the thesis author and their experience. If you look through a dozen or so at a time, you will hear the screams, the manic laughter, catching the sombre tragedy and the sense of awe and agony that underpins the doctoral life span.
Acknowledgements are non-consequential in that a student is not evaluated on them, unlike the rest of the prose they have laboured over. Some acknowledgement pages give away the secret of their authors’ difficulty with formal prose, and it doesn’t matter—by the time anyone reads them, the author has been found acceptable.
But acknowledgements do matter because in amongst the celebration the right people need to be thanked in the right sort of way.
The acknowledgement pages I have looked at vary considerably. Most thank funders, supervisors, close colleagues and family. Possibly supportive friends. This means it is effectively a snub if someone important is not thanked.
Typically the structure moves from thanking the most formal support to the least formal thanks as detailed above–funders, supervisors, other academics, colleagues, and finally family. This makes sense according to the logic of incremental progression because the informal thanks to family are often the most heartfelt. Close family members are often the people who gave the most (although some supervisors are likely to feel this is not true).
It is important that a student acknowledges the formal carefully, though: any person or institution that has contributed funding to the project, other researchers who have been involved in the research, institutions that have aided the research in some way. They should also acknowledge proofreaders and editors—that is a requirement at the University of Auckland where I work, and a good one in terms of honesty in authorship. Such formal thanks are usually in the first paragraph or two.
Interestingly, our Guide to Theses and Dissertations states that you should “Only acknowledge people or institutions that have contributed to the content of your thesis” (14).
Yet no one follows this advice. I have seen people thank their dog for sitting at their feet for hundreds of hours, the cat for its companionable choice of the thesis draft as a place to settle down for a nap, and God for creating a magnificent universe available to be studied.
It is possible to thank people for more specific regional rather than global help throughout the thesis too. I like doing this, because it cheers me up to remember the kind, wise colleagues who have helped me along with my thinking. If footnotes are used, the work can be done there, for example, with footnotes that state “I am indebted to xxx for several discussions that helped me to focus this section”. Without footnotes, more formal provision of a ‘personal conversation’ reference will do the same work.
Students may choose to namedrop in these internal thanks too: if a big name in the field gave feedback after a conference paper or in conversation, acknowledgements strengthen the student’s academic authority and insider status.
Acknowledgements vary in length, and the effect of a very long acknowledgement—I have seen a nine-pager—is to dilute the thanks. I have also seen one that simply lists five names, which was blunt, but powerful.
So it is good to start a draft within six months of submission, and revise it for the full satisfaction of a job well done on graduation, with all dues paid. The usual structuring principles apply: those who gave most should be given the most thanks. Supervisors will know the sad truth if the cat gets more lines than they do.
Thanks are best when concrete. I really like thanks to supervisors that carry a sense of who they were in the drama, like “My supervisor, who kept a sense of humour when I had lost mine”; “my supervisor, whose maddening attention to detail drove me to finally learn to punctuate prose”; or “my supervisor, whose selfless time and care were sometimes all that kept me going.” A precisely-worded acknowledgement like a perfectly chosen gift. It fits. It matches.
Some supervisors tend not to give advice on acknowledgments, because they expecting to be thanked, so it feels preemptive. Do others feel, though, that the end result is happier all round if supervisors offer to critically read the acknowledgements too? Or would it be more appropriately a place where academic advisors could give objective advice?
How to Write Acknowledgements for Report or Thesis
In any or , acknowledgement page always comes in the beginning of the project. Usually, this page is included just after Table of Contents. This page is properly numbered with indent text. As far as the length is concerned, there is no restriction.
The basic purpose to include acknowledgement page is just to pay a thankful note for all those people who have supported you in carrying out your research. It is advisable to include people in the proper order according to the importance of their help they paid. However, your appreciation should be concise and expression should not be so emotional.
Read more on how to .
People Who May be Addressed in Writing Acknowledgement Note
As already mentioned, always refers to people who have assisted you in , report or . So, in your acknowledgement note you can address your supervisor, coordinator, academic crew of your department, support staff, technical personnel of your branch, organizations or institutions, friends and family. Remember to have formal note even while you address your friends or family.
Acknowledgment Phrases for a Thesis, Report or Dissertation
Below, I am going to include some very common expressions that are mostly used in acknowledgements. You can use these as sample acknowledgment for your thesis or report.
- “I would like to pay my regards to…”
- “I would like to show my gratitude to…”
- “I wish to present my special thanks to…”
- “It is whole-heartedly expressed that your advices for my research proved to be a landmark effort towards the success of my project.”
- “I would like to thank all those whose assistance proved to be a milestone in the accomplishment of my end goal.”
- “Just wishing to recognize the valuable help of all provided during my research.”
How to differentiate between a thesis and dissertation? Learn the difference.
Method to Write Acknowledgements Page for Thesis, Report or Book
Acknowledgement page is an important feature in a thesis or report- a chance to pay regard to all those who have paid their sincere support during your project. Here are some helpful tips to consider
- It is significant to note that your acknowledgement page should be as brief as possible reflecting your professionalism.
- An important aspect to consider while writing acknowledgement is that you can write it in the form of a as well as list with the names and contributions of the people who offered their support for your project.
- If you go with a list then you can better address people individually. In this way their names and contributions will not be overlapped.
- Use the names in proper alphabetical order in your list.
- Always prefer to list people according to their importance. For example your thesis supervisor or advisor should definitely be the first person to acknowledge followed by other teachers, staff members, lab technicians, assistants or other classmates directly involved in your research.
Example of Thesis Acknowledgment Page Addressing all People in a Group
Some formats of the acknowledgements also prefer to list all the people in a group and show a thankful note in one go instead paying regard individually. For example
“I would like to show my warm thank to Dr. Mathew, Dr. Steve and Professor Richard who supported me at every bit and without whom it was impossible to accomplish the end task.”
Writing the Acknowledgment Including the Institution Which has Contributed Funding
Furthermore, in various researches it happens that the researcher receive financial help from other organizations or foundations in term of any scholarship, grant or stipend. If you have the same case then it would be highly appreciable if you also enclose the name of the said organization in your acknowledgement. For example
“The physical support and the technical contribution of ‘Adult Basic Education Society’ is highly appreciable. Without their care and funding, it was impossible to reach the goal.”
Saying Thanks to Sincere Supporters in Your Acknowledgment Page of Thesis or Dissertation
Last but not the least; emotional support can also be considered as a key to success. So, if you wish to thank such supporters like your parents, siblings, friends or partner who supported you throughout your research then it would, surely, be great for them. You can write a great acknowledgement note for them. However, keep slangs, jokes and anecdotes out of your academic acknowledgement. It is just the literary work like novel, poetry, book or short stories that require literary type of thank you acknowledgements for the contributors.
Read these .
Acknowledgement Letter Format for Your Report, Thesis or Research Paper
Here is an example of acknowledgement letter format that you can adopt as a guide for your next report, thesis or research paper.
I would like to pay special thankfulness, warmth and appreciation to the persons below who made my research successful and assisted me at every point to cherish my goal:
My Supervisor, Dr. Milne for his vital support and assistance. His encouragement made it possible to achieve the goal.
My Assistant Supervisor, Dr. Wilson, whose help and sympathetic attitude at every point during my research helped me to work in time.
Professor Benson, Head of the Department of Chemistry, whose reminders and constant motivation encouraged me to meet the deadlines.
All the faculty, staff members and lab technicians of Chemistry Department, whose services turned my research a success.
My Mom and Dad, family members and friends, without whom I was nothing; they not only assisted me financially but also extended their support morally and emotionally.
Example of Acknowledgement for Book
Here are some examples of acknowledgement from famous books.
1. Geetanjali Gangoli beautifully acknowledges all those people assisted in the completion of her famous book, “Indian Feminisms- Law, Patriarchies and Violence in India.”
2. David Lamb also acknowledges the contribution of his colleagues and friends in his famous book, ‘Down the Slippery Slope’