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How and Why to Write Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement is a section that is mostly found in major works like theses and dissertations. It is used to thank everyone who assisted you on the writing journey The reason why scholars dedicate a separate page to thank everyone, directly and indirectly, involved in the writing of a dissertation is that the process often takes years, which means no one can do it solely on their own.

Among the most common parties thanked in the acknowledgement section are advisors, colleagues, fellow students, and respondents who have taken part in the research. Many also choose to thank friends and family for their support and assistance in the creation of the dissertation. However, all acknowledgements should be in some way connected to your work – mentioning a childhood friend who taught you some valuable skill is not considered a good addition to the dissertation.

The length of the acknowledgement section is a tricky subject. You can only imagine how exhausting reading a multi-page is, so keep your acknowledgement brief – a 1-page acknowledgement section is a good choice. The tone of your acknowledgement should be more personal than the rest of the dissertation, but still professional and informative.

What to Write? Preface, acknowledgements or both?

A preface is the first part of the dissertation where you share your experiences of working on the paper. This section often includes acknowledgements, so if you’re writing a preface, don’t write a separate page for acknowledgements. That way you can not only list the people who have helped you with the work but also specify why you’re thankful for their contribution.

Acknowledgements Examples

Short acknowledgement:

I would like to use this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to everyone who helped make this dissertation happen: my professor [name], my fellow students [names] and my always-supportive family [names].

Long acknowledgement:

The dissertation you are holding could only become possible thanks to the contribution from my dearest family members [names], colleagues [names], fellow students [names], and, of course, my professor [name], who was patient, supportive, caring, and always available. I would not have done it without help from each one of you!

I am grateful for the opportunity to work on such a stimulating topic and I also want to thank the [institution name] for providing me with the tools and means to conduct my research. I feel especially thankful to the participants of my research, who have elected to stay anonymous but whose contribution to the outcome of my work is simply invaluable.

Thanks again to everyone involved.

Joe Johnson

UCLA, January 15, 2017.

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