Any time you publish work or are recognized publicly, it’s good form to thank the people who’ve helped you along the way with an acknowledgment. It can be a tricky piece of writing, though. What tone to use? How formal should your thanks be? Who should you thank? Whether it be academic acknowledgments, public thanks, or other reasons for thanking people, wikiHow can help you offer your gratitude in style. See Step 1 for more information.
Method One of Three:
Writing Academic Acknowledgements Edit
Use the appropriate tone and form. The acknowledgment page is a common feature at the end of a formal thesis or dissertation, and it can be difficult to know how to include a bit of personal writing at the end of a technical project. It would be strange to follow up your epoch-shattering cancer research study with “Shout out to D-Nuts for the sick waffles he brought me in the lab that one time.” Make your acknowledgment page professional and brief, but also specific to the people who helped you along the way. 
- The acknowledgment page can either be a list or a more fluid paragraph. It would be fine to write, “I would like to thank Professor Henderson, Dr. Matthews, etc.” until you’ve worked your way through the list.
- It would also be perfectly acceptable to address each person individually and more personally: “I would like to thank Professor Henderson for her expert advice and encouragement throughout this difficult project, as well as Dr. Matthews for his brilliance in the lab.”
- Some people feel uncomfortable emphasizing certain people’s help over other people’s help, in which case the list form in alphabetical order is a perfectly acceptable method of writing an Acknowledgment.
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Start with the most important teachers. In general, the most important person to thank in the acknowledgment is your thesis advisor or major professor overseeing your project, followed by any members of the thesis committee and other supervising academics directly involved with your project.
- In general, it’s helpful to think in groups, even going to far as to format all the thank-yous of a particular group in a single sentence: “I would like to thank Dr. Stevens, Dr. Smith, and Professors Clemons for their extraordinary support in this thesis process.”
List other helpers. This might include lab assistants, or anyone who helped you with coursework or contributed to the project itself in any way. Other classmates who you feel like contributed to the project directly would also be appropriate to thank in this category.
Address financial aid you might’ve received. If your project received any financial support from a foundation or research group, such as a grant, a fellowship, or a scholarship, it would be appropriate to thank the foundation or organization by name and list any personal contacts you might’ve had with the group.
- If your scholarship at the University was supported by any fellowships or scholarships, it would also be appropriate to name them in this section: “This project would have been impossible without the support of the Katherine G. Katherine Foundation, the Reese’s Peanut Butter scholarship, and the Guggenheim Group.”
Put more personal thank-yous and emotional supporters last. Many people like to thank their parents personally, as well as any friends, partners, or other acquaintances who contributed to your emotional well-being throughout the completion of the project at hand. It’s probably not necessary to thank your grade-school basketball team, unless the experience contributed to your degree in some specific way.
- Remember that your friendships and romances may change over the years, so it might be best to keep particularly mushy romances and declarations of love out of your acknowledgment page, so you won’t have to see it later if it doesn’t work out.
- It’s generally best to avoid overtly personal anecdotes and inside jokes in an academic acknowledgements page. If you want to reference other students’ constant joking around in the lab, say, it would be better to say, “Thanks to Joe and Katherine for their friendship in the lab” than “Thanks to Joe and Katherine for dunking my slides in Jell-O when I was hungover.”
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