Dissertation acknowledgments: The Basics
If you have finished your dissertation and are thinking of ways to get it presented before the panel, you have to think about acknowledging the contributions of all the people who have made it possible for you to complete your dissertation. As with other modes of communication, the process of compiling acknowledgments to the dissertation is becoming professional in its style and content. These days, most researchers tend to be as brief as possible when acknowledging the work of others. A dissertation acknowledgment is a way of saying “Thanks” to all the people who have made the text possible and hence it is our opinion that it should include everyone without sounding verbose and the expression of gratitude should be sincere.
A good dissertation would cite the authors on whom the researcher has relied on in a professional and straightforward manner. In the same way, the researcher needs to express a note of thanks to the people who contributed to his research. Be it his or her supervisor, academic adviser or the university personnel who supported him in the logistical tasks, all of them need mention and in a manner that befits their contribution. For instance, one may not notice the support staffs who maintain the printers and the computers as well as the other lab equipment. But, they are as important to the work of the researcher as the academic staff though their contribution may not be on the same scale.
Whom to acknowledge and how
Hence, a good dissertation acknowledgment would have the names of all the people in a way that highlights the contributions of each commiserate with their role in making the dissertation possible. This can be done by descending order of priority wherein the academic supervisors and the advisers are mentioned first and then the colleagues and fellow researchers and finally the support staff. Of course, the copyright holders of the works cited in the dissertation need to be acknowledged as well. Once all the people have been acknowledged in the preface or the notes at the end of the dissertation, it is time to thank the people who have contributed in non-material terms. By this, we mean the family and friends who have made it possible for the researcher to undertake the research.
Personal acknowledgments must reflect the warmth of relationships in contrast to the brisk and professional style one employs when thanking those in the academic hierarchy. One should remember that though there is no limit to the people one can thank and acknowledge, one has to draw the line somewhere and this would mean that though the feeling of gratitude may be profuse, it is better to be precise with the words to express them. As they say, “Brevity is the soul of wit” and it is better to remember this when compiling the dissertation acknowledgments.
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