How to Write Acknowledgements
When you have finally finished writing the draft of your paper, it is time to recognize the different people who have contributed or have been helpful in making your project real. However, it can be a difficult thing to list everyone who has participated in your project in this or that way. Besides, you do not know how you can thank these people without compromising the principles and standards of academic writing. In this situation, you would better consult authoritative sources, and our blog can help you with that.
How to Write an Academic Acknowledgement
Make sure that you use the tone and form that suit the context of your writing. You will see few dissertations and academic papers without an acknowledgement page. The biggest problem is that students do not know how to balance the need for some personalized writing on the acknowledgement page with the dry academic language used throughout the project. You may feel at odds when writing something like "my mother has been hilarious taking me out sometimes to give me a fresh look at things and speed up my learning progress." It is just so intimate! Yet, it is here, and it must be here. So, be ready to excel in writing!
You are free to design your acknowledgement page as a single paragraph or a separate page featuring a whole story of your life and how it has changed your vision of the things around you. If you do not want to include any elaborate stories, it will be enough to say, "Thank you, Professor Weinstein, for showing the best direction in this work!" You may also want to list everyone you believe stands behind your success in this project. Then, it is right to say, "I would like to thank Professor Weinstein for helping me out with the topic and Professor Zelinsky for delivering regular follow-ups." At the same time, if you believe that just too many people have helped you out in your writing and you do not want to mention someone and ignore someone else, use a general statement or list all these people in an alphabetical order.
It is better to begin your acknowledgement with the most important people on your list. More often than not, students use their acknowledgement opportunities to thank their professors and dissertation supervisors, as these are definitely the most important people in your academic studies. Then you can also list the people who have participated in your project such as fellow students or any other professors who guided the writing process.
You should not forget other helping individuals or persons. For example, you can give special thanks to the laboratory assistants who were with you while you were carrying out your experiments. You can also thank other fellow students who reviewed your draft or provided valuable advice to help you avoid the most common mistakes.
If you have received any kind of financial support when working on your project, make sure that you list these people and give your thanks to them as well. Financial aid can come in the form of academic scholarship or a grant from a non-profit organization. In either case, it is your ethical obligation to mention those who have made your project possible. If the financial support provided was not limited to academic scholarships, than the names of the organizations provided financial aid should be listed in alphabetical order.
Leave the most intimate and personal thanks to the end of the acknowledgement piece. For example, it is natural that you want to thank your mother for being with you in the most difficult times. You may want to thank your sisters and brothers for delivering immediate emotional support when you thought you would never manage to finish your project on time. You may wish to mention your soccer teammates for encouraging you to pursue your studies. However, you will have to weight all pros and cons of making your acknowledge more intimate. Life changes, and so do your commitments and friendships. You must be confident that you do not regret having the name of your latest passion on your dissertation page any time in the future.
At the same time, do not make your acknowledgement page sound too personal. While some personalized thanks are appropriate, you do not want to turn your entire presentation into a narrative of your academic and personal life. You do not want your readers to know that the best ideas expressed in your paper came to you while you were drinking with a lab assistant. Therefore, it is better to say "Special thanks to Jane Addison for sharing research ideas during a coffee break" than "Thank you Jane for the huge hangover that opened my eyes on the research topic."
You Can Create a Thank You Speech
Your speech should not last for more than two minutes. Imagine yourself on the stage, where you are awarded a prize for your achievements, and your task is to let other people know how some important people in your life have helped you with your project. Begin your thank-you speech with the names of those who are present in the audience. You can share some interesting story about how your cooperation progressed and translated into the project that would eventually bring you academic fame. However, keep it brief and concise. It is better to choose some very interesting story that falls into the context of your presentation. However, do not turn it into a discussion of your personal experiences at the expense of your academic writing. Do not think that the audience wants to listen to your stories. Rather, people want to see and hear your academic message. This is not a theater, and you are not an actor in it.
You can add some tint of humor to your story, but do not try to make fun of the people you believe have helped you to finish the project on time. Again, you are not a comedian, and your helpers are not there to become an object of mockery. If you want to share some story with the public, you would better agree it with all participants on your thank-you list. Remember, once Michael Jordan was criticized for not using appropriate tone in his Hall of Fame speech. Do not make the same mistake!
Dealing with Other Acknowledgements
You can practice a lot with your own acknowledgements if you try to write such acknowledgements for someone else. For example, if you were given a task to organize and publish a book of students' works, then you can try to write acknowledgements for them. You may also take other books or academic works to see how their acknowledgement pages were formatted. You will notice that, in most cases, formal addresses are used, followed by some personal thank you's.
Do not forget to thank those who were generous enough to give you enough financial support while you were working on your project. Keep writing a lot to refine your academic writing skills. This way you will be able to create wonderful creative acknowledgements that will boost your motivation and keep your heart open to others. If this is not an academic project but something really fun and creative, then you have plenty of opportunities and enough freedom to do what you want with your acknowledgements. For example, some famous authors and musicians used their CD pages to list those who had contributed to their albums, financially and emotionally. This way you can show your appreciation and understanding of those who were by your side as you were accomplishing your most challenging mission.
At the same time, it is always a good idea to ask others if they want to be acknowledged privately or publicly. Why not write a personal note to your professors or the organization that funded your research? It may well happen that people do not want to become a subject of public discussions; nor are they willing to see their names published in your book. This is all about ethics and privacy, so you cannot simply thank someone without asking their permission. Such private notes or letters should contain some basic information about you (just in case members of the organization do not remember who you are), a brief note of gratitude for the assistance received, and a polite request to confirm that you can acknowledge their contribution in writing. Most likely, you will not have any problems with that.
Review the list of those whom you want to thank. Be thorough and attentive. Check pronunciation and spelling. Otherwise, those on your list may feel awkward or even criticize you for your negligence. Take your acknowledgment as an important part of your academic work, without which it will never be complete. Make sure that you have enough time to write your acknowledgements. Do not underestimate their value!