Bits and Bolts of How to Write Acknowledgement for Dissertation

acknowledgement for dissertation

Writing an acknowledgement for dissertation is treated differently by different researchers; while some of them consider it some habitual, casual work associated more with a tradition than with real, sincere thanks, others treat the acknowledgment page for dissertation as a very important space for giving real credit to everyone involved in their research process and contributing to it in a certain way. So, is it needed anyway? What should it contain? This article answers all questions related to this part of your thesis, and teaches you to make an elegantly worded, sincere, and mature acknowledgement in a dissertation.

PhD Dissertation Acknowledgement: What Is It?

Acknowledgement in dissertation relates to expression of gratitude to people and institutions who contributed to your dissertation process in a number of ways. In the academic circles, it is an established norm to give thanks to funding entities, departments, and academic staff who assisted at any stage of the project by either financial or feedback/advice means. Both the composition and revision assistance should be acknowledged; it is mandatory to include the full names of individuals to whom thanks are expressed, and to make brief statements about specific kind of help you received from them. However, when it comes to PhD research, it is highly advisable to check the need for ethical clearance or specific permissions for using information about the funders and supporters of the project.

Some Useful Acknowledgement Dissertation Phrases

Showing how grateful you are to some individuals who helped you in the dissertation process is not as easy as it might seem. Writing something plain like “thank you Mr. Brown” or “I am grateful to Mrs. Snow” betrays the entire elegance and style of a serious academic work like a PhD thesis. Hence, you have to be creative and involve all your writing talent and skill in the production of an excellent, memorable acknowledgement for dissertation. Here are some useful phrases that have already become an industry standard for production of this dissertation section:

“I have been lucky enough to have a chance to spend a few years of my life holding this research”

“I am deeply grateful to some people who did their best to put me on the right track”

“I owe a sincere thank you to …”

“The research for this study was generously funded by…”

“I am particularly indebted to… for instrumental support and advice in the development and publication of my research”

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to [my family] for immense support, love, and patience”

“Special thanks is reserved for …”

“I would also like to extend thanks to …”

How to Order Thanks in an Acknowledgement?

Even the most experienced researchers may get stuck with completing a good acknowledgement page, especially if they have many people to give thanks to. Thus, those interested in how to write an acknowledgement for dissertation may derive many benefits from the following detailed overview of contents and order of this section:

  1. It is vital to order acknowledgements in accordance with the importance of these people’s contribution to your research process. Because of this, naming the advisor and most influential members of the academic staff who assisted you throughout the dissertation process is a favorable choice to make. The reason for this is that these individuals provided actual research support and advice, guided and proofread your intermediary versions, and overall made you succeed. Consequently, credit to them is the most significant. You can express your gratitude to academic contributors in some ways including:
  2. “I am especially indebted to ** for his/her invaluable research support and academic advice”
    “I specifically appreciated **’s extensive personal and professional guidance and provision of precious scientific knowledge”
    “I would like to give credit to ** for his/her excellent scientist example for me to follow, and goals for me to strive to”

  3. The second place in your acknowledgements should be occupied by additional academic staff that helped you in some ways to complete the PhD project. This may have been done with the help of research assistants, laboratory staff, your classmates, outside reviewers, etc. Though their contribution is surely less pronounced than that of academic supervisor staff, without them, your dissertation might have not seen the world, so give proper credit to them and recognize their role in the process with due regard. This may be done in a number of ways, for instance:
  4. “I am indebted to persons with whom I had a pleasure and honor to work during this research progression”
    “I would especially like to give thanks to ** for assistance with data collection and analysis”
    “This dissertation might have probably never seen light without **’s technical assistance”

  5. Then come the sources of your financial assistance if you had any for the project. Since these organizations or individuals gave you money to make the research happen, they also deserve a significant place in the list of your sincere thanks to all assistants and supporters. Saying a warm thank you is possible to this category of assistants in the following ways:
  6. “I would like thank ** for financial support and assistance in making my project come to life”
    “This study might have never happened without the financial aid of this organization”

  7. The final part of acknowledgements is traditionally reserved for thanks to friends and family members who are also direct contributors to your research success. Without a wife/husband, parental support, and friends’ patience and wisdom with a paranoid, always occupied and nervous PhD researcher which you might have been for a couple of years, the dissertation might have also failed. Hence, it is always appropriate to acknowledge the personal, emotional support you received from dears and nears during the hard dissertation writing times. Do it in such ways:

“Nobody has been more important for me in the completion of this project than my family members”
“I would like to thank my parents for all their help and support throughout this challenging work”
“I wish to give thanks to my wife/husband ** for the inspiration and understanding”

These useful phrases may help to write dissertation acknowledgement, while still, it is all a highly personal matter and you should check first whether these specific patterns and clichés suit your individual situation.

Voicing your Acknowledgments in a Public Speech

Don’t forget that the culmination of your research presentation may be a public performance with a speech. After the defense is successfully passed, you are most likely to be given some time for giving public thanks, and here are some common rules for you to follow for the speech to be memorable and appropriate:

  1. Try to limit it to approximately one minute of speaking time. Remember: people like to hear their names in the list of those to whom you are grateful. But long lists with names and specialties, details of how they helped you, and how much you owe to them, are really boring. So, don’t make your audience fall asleep – keep the acknowledgements concise and limit them only to the most instrumental persons.
  2. If you are not sure whom to include – include those present during the speech. They will appreciate being named, while those not present will never know about the fact you left them out.
  3. Make the speech vivid and lively. This is easy with introducing a joke, some anecdote, or a striking quote of a famous personality.

And a couple of final pieces of advice: do not underestimate the acknowledgments part of your research, though in most cases, it is only a technicality. People who assisted you throughout the process and whose contribution helped you progress in the hard times of research completion really deserve a humble ‘thank you’, both in the acknowledgments page and in the thank-you speech. This small credit will show that you remember about their help and you appreciate it – a very decent response to their helping hand in your hard times.