Most published works include an Acknowledgement page that thanks to the people who helped the author put the book, thesis, or presentation together. Similarly, it is vital to acknowledge such people when something you write is published or recognized publicly. Doing this will go a long way in showing them that their contribution – whether professional, emotional or personal – did not go unnoticed.
That said, writing an acknowledgment is not always an easy task. You have to use the write format and tone and pick whom among your long list of supporters to mention. This article looks at everything that goes into this key part of any published work.
What Is Acknowledgement?
Acknowledgments are a crucial element of any published piece of work, be it professional, fictional, non-fictional, or academic. The acknowledgment section is dedicated to thanking the people that helped the author put together the writing. For example, in a thesis, the acknowledgment page will recognize the efforts of lecturers, lab assistants, and librarians that helped the writer research their findings.
Usually, the acknowledgment is one to two pages long and placed at the beginning of the published work, following the contents page. It is concise, to the point, and can take several formats. It can also mention one person or team or multiple parties.
Who Should Be in the Acknowledgment?
A lot of work goes into creating published work, especially a thesis, and there are so many people you could thank in the acknowledgments. There is also no hard and fast rule about who should or shouldn’t be included. As such, you could mention family members, friends, employers, professors, librarians, lab assistants, and volunteers who made your research possible. That said, here are the parties most commonly mentioned in acknowledgments:
- Mentors – These are the people that have inspired, supported, and molded you into the person you are today. You can mention their contribution in your acknowledgment.
- Sources – Thank your sources or everyone who did research work or provided you with crucial information for your thesis.
- Graphic Designers – If the front cover of your work includes attractive artwork designed to draw in readers, you should thank your book cover or graphic designer.
- Illustrators – Some books or published works include in-page illustrations that express their content. If yours does, mention your illustrators in the acknowledgment.
- Editors – Thank your editors. These are the people that read through your work and correct any errors – grammatical, spelling, format, etc. – that you might have made.
- Publishers – Many authors also thank the people that published their books.
- Family Members – Mention friends, siblings, parents, children, or spouses that supported you during your research and writing period.
Acknowledgement Samples and Templates
How to Write Acknowledgements
Because the Acknowledgment page is not part of your research or primary content, it can be challenging to weave it into the rest of the book. This usually means that you have to be very particular about your tone, format, content, and delivery. The following step-by-step guide will help you:
Step 1: Choose Your Tone
Book authors have more flexibility when it comes to the tone of their acknowledgments. The acknowledgment in a thesis – however – should be brief, professional, and relatively informal compared to the rest of the document. It should also be specific to the parties that helped you.
Step 2: Select a Format
Depending on your writing preferences, you can format your acknowledgment as an alphabetical list or paragraph. The latter is more personal because it goes into details about the person’s contribution, while the latter is more general. It works well for authors who would prefer not to emphasize the support of some people over others.
Step 3: Mention the Important Names
The key people to acknowledge for support on your thesis are your advisors and professors. You can also thank the academics that supervised your project and the thesis committee. If the committee was small, consider thanking them individually for their contribution.
Step 4: Thank Other Assistants
Don’t forget to mention librarians, lab assistants, junior professors, or even classmates that played a role in your project. You don’t have to go into detail about what they did; you can just mention them by name and thank them for their contribution.
Step 5: Mention Any Financial Aid You Received
If your project was funded by a research group, scholarship, or foundation, it is customary to thank them. You can mention them by name or contact data.
Step 6: Thank Friends and Family
Finally, close your acknowledgment by thanking your parents, siblings, friends, partners, or other close acquaintances that supported you during the research process. Try not to go into detail about or make any declarations on current romances or friendships, as these tend to change with time, and it could be a hassle to edit your acknowledgment page.
Tips for Writing Acknowledgements
Many acknowledgments are written on paper, while others are delivered as speeches. If you decide to go with the latter option, here are some tips you should consider:
- Keep your speech short – It is highly likely that the audience won’t be entirely made up of people in your acknowledgment list, so they probably won’t want to listen to you drone on for pure. Cut your list to the most important names.
- Be sincere in your delivery – Avoid using humor in a bid to capture the audience’s attention, as you never know when things could go wrong. Someone could take a joke personally. Instead, be sincere about your gratitude. The audience will respond to that.
- Mention present parties – Try to mention the people on your list who made it to the event where you will be giving your speech. This will make the acknowledgment more special.
- Use anecdotes to emphasize points, especially when describing how someone supported you.
Even if you are an expert in your field, it is unlikely that you will work alone on a thesis or research work. If you had help during the research, writing, editing, or publishing phases of your paper or book – and you likely did – it is important to appreciate the people who helped you through a well-written Acknowledgement. You can use this one to two-page piece to thank your professors, colleagues, research assistants, editors, publishers, friends, and family for their support.