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How to Create Solid Dissertation Acknowledgements

Writing your dissertation can seem like a Herculean feat at times, and once the task is over, you certainly do have a lot of people to thank. After all, if you’ve gotten to this point in your education, chances are there are a lot of different people who helped get you here and, what’s more, chances are also good that you have a whole host of different writers, critics and experts to cite and acknowledge in your dissertation. So, how can you create a solid dissertation acknowledgements page without seeming to run on and on like an Oscar speech run amok? Here are just a few tips and tricks to help you out.

Format

There are a great many different ways that you can create an acknowledgements page, and while there are a lot of different factors which inform the makeup of a proper dissertation acknowledgements page, the first place to start is undoubtedly the format. Any veteran of paper writing—APA or MLA, it doesn’t matter—will tell you that you’ll lose a lot of points if you postpone working on your formatting, or turn in a sloppily-formatted paper. As such, you’re going to want to make sure that your dissertation acknowledge is properly formatted. In addition, you might want to include a “dedications” page if you want to truly spice up your acknowledgements (and ingratiate yourself just a little bit.)

Content

Anyone who’s ever slogged through the tedium of a works cited page will be familiar with the content here. You’re going to have to acknowledge every last scrap of information and every last author and authority whom you have called upon or cited in any manner in the writing of your paper. Every book, article, study, chart, finding, etc.

The most important thing here is thoroughness. Above all, you do not want to leave anyone or anything out. When combing through your dissertation, your review board is going to be extremely cross if you left some vital acknowledgement out. Part of the academic process is giving credit to those that have helped you to your point; it’s the embodiment of Stephen Hawking’s statement about “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

You’ve gotten this far, in part, because of the efforts of others, and a dissertation acknowledgement page has to acknowledge that, and do so in full.

Finally, if you’re thanking anyone still prominent in your field, or still influential, it might be pertinent to make their acknowledgement more prominent.