Writing Tips >> Acknowledgements

This section is written to thank people and give brief details of how they helped. The language you use should be different from your thesis because it will be personal, sincere and positive.

Organisation and content
Acknowledgements are usually placed after the abstract and before the contents sections (the plural form must be used for the heading). The most senior people, e.g. your supervisor, are usually mentioned first followed by your peers and friends. Family members are acknowledged last. It is common to use 5 short paragraphs with a maximum of 60 words each.

You should avoid passive verb forms, and use more formal language to thank your supervisor and other academics than when thanking your friends and peers. The present simple tense is commonly used e.g. “I am grateful” and “I thank”. You can use present perfect tense to express contribution over time, e.g. “You have helped me to understand” and the past simple for completed actions and times, e.g. “You supported me”.  For politeness, you can use “I would like to thank” or “I wish to thank”.

Writing Steps
Make a list of everyone you have worked with during your research and how they helped you. If their help was similar to another person’s, then perhaps thank them together in the same paragraph.

Make a list of useful words for the person or group, for example, your supervisor may have offered advice, guidance, support, encouragement, patience, expertise, knowledge, and more. Think of 3, to avoid a long list; then write a paragraph to thank the person or group (see the sample above).  Try to avoid repeating the same sentence styles; this can also sound insincere.

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