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Four Rules Of Writing Good Dissertation Acknowledgements

While you're not graded on your acknowledgements page, you will still want to treat it with professional respect like the rest of your dissertation. Sure, you can thank your dog for always being there while you wrote, but it needs to appear nice and neat on the page. There are severe guidelines you will want to follow when writing your acknowledgements, ranging from design to whom to acknowledge. Below are four rules for writing a good acknowledgement page.

  • Who should be included? Okay, you shouldn't really thank your dog for always being by your side while you wrote. Yes, you could do it and it may be fine, but the general rule is to thank and acknowledge only those who were involved in the making of your dissertation as well as your thesis. This is due in part to the amount of space available as well as the amount of time readers are willing to spend reading through acknowledgements, which isn't a long time.
  • Style Matters. Your acknowledgements should appear in the same style as the rest of dissertation. Generally this would mean they'll be double-spaced, in the same font and the same font size as the rest of the paper.
  • Address the most important people first. Generally, those who helped or assisted you the most should be at the top. Usually this would be your thesis advisor or a professor who was overseeing the project, followed by the thesis committee. After this you will want to acknowledge those who helped you that weren't apart of the thesis committee and those who weren't an advisor. This could be lab help, or someone who assisted you in research. In general, emotional acknowledgements, such as your dog who sat by you all that time as you wrote, should be saved for last. If you don't feel comfortable doing it in this format, you don't have to, though some readers may assume the most important people are at the top.
  • Make sure financial aid is acknowledged. Did you receive a grant related to the dissertation? That should be in the acknowledgements. Did an organization give you money to fund your research? That should be in there. It's important to acknowledge everyone involved in helping you achieve your goal, including those who backed you financially.

Your acknowledgements are a great place to acknowledge those who helped you emotionally and academically on your journey to competing your dissertation. Proper styling, tone and order are key when writing good dissertation acknowledgements.