The Fine Art Of Writing Dissertation Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements in dissertation is a natural and exceptional way for a student to say thanks to someone as it relates to the experience the student has had on his or her journey towards earning an advanced degree. If you have ever taken the opportunity to read some dissertation acknowledgements examples you might have recognized the same sense of panic, stress, and agony you have encountered in your own journey, and you will even have an understanding at why saying thanks has become such a wonderful tradition in the academics.

There is No Right or Wrong Way to Say Thanks

If you ever search for sample acknowledgements, you find that some of the best dissertation acknowledgements don’t follow rules. This doesn’t mean that you should stray too far from the standards, but it does mean that you don’t have to worry so much about writing a “cookie cutter” expression of gratitude, if you find it appropriate to go in a different direction.

You Should Identify the People You Want to Thank

Before jotting down a few sentences or phrases of thanks, you might want to identify the people you want to thank. Students will sometimes read through a few examples to find phrases they could borrow when they want to say the right words but are so burnt out that they can’t come up with anything original. This is a fine strategy – but it is better if you first spend the time to make a list of everyone and then consider whether there are some you might want to leave off, in order to bring attention to those you choose to leave on.

Think About the Structure (or Flow) of Your Thanks

Generally speaking, the order in which you express thanks should go from the more formal to the more familiar. Look at a dissertation acknowledgements sample to get an idea for how a student should thank his or her advisor, department staff, colleagues, friends, and family. It might be a good idea to write more for the more formal group than you do for you the more familiar. Splitting names into two paragraphs can also make for a better structure, indicating to the reader the level of respect you have for each of those who have assisted you on your journey.

Be Careful with the Words You Choose to Express

Despite the point above stating that there are no rules when saying thanks, there are some suggestions you might want to follow when dealing with professionals. If you have a look at PhD dissertation acknowledgements you will find that most graduate students who are thanking their advisors or a department that assisted them don’t write in a non-formal tone. They don’t make jokes and they rarely refer to anyone by their first names – unless in some unique cases they have developed a friendly personal relationship. Definitely give how you choose to express your thanks a second thought.

It comes as no surprise that some graduate advisors won’t provide you with any guidance when it comes to writing acknowledgements for dissertation. Whether it is a sign of modesty or because they anticipate the gratitude, no one will truly say. But this doesn’t mean that help isn’t out there. Search for acknowledgments for dissertation samples on the web or read through ones you find within dissertations kept at your library. Once you get a feel for what is expected and acceptable the writing should come quite naturally to you.