Every time you publish any work or receive public recognition for your achievements, it is an excellent opportunity to thank those who have supported you and helped you on your hard way. However writing acknowledgments can be a difficult task. What tone of writing should you choose? How formal should your acknowledgments be? Who should you thank? Whether it’s an acknowledgment for the help in the scientific work, public acknowledgements, or anything else - below you will find useful tips on how to write an acknowledgement.
Section of acknowledgments might seem as the easiest part of your diploma, but many students feel confused when writing this section.
Use an appropriate tone and style. Acknowledgment section is a standard part in the end of each course work, thesis or dissertation, and it is sometimes quite difficult to include such a text of the personal content into a scientific work. It would be rather strange if at the end of your diploma on medicine research on the fight against cancer, you would write something like: «I want to give my thanks to that guy who gave his waffles with me in the lab.» Therefore, your acknowledgment section should be professional and brief, but it should refer to particular people who have helped you along the way.
Start your acknowledgements with the most important of your professors. In general, your research supervisor or chief professor in charge of your project are the most important people who need to be mentioned first, after them you should give your thanks to the other members of the committee of curators and other scientists, who are directly related to your work.
It would be nice if you can group people you would like to express your gratitude to. You can express your gratitude to one such group in one sentence: «I would like to thank Dr. Johnson, Dr. Smith and Professor Matthew for their incredible support during my research.»
Make a list of everybody who has assisted you during your research. This list may include laboratory technicians and all those who have helped you during your research or in any way contributed to your project. It is pertinent to mention your fellow students, who, in your opinion, have assisted you to make this happen.
Do not forget to mention the financial assistance if you have received any. If your project has received financial support from any fund or research group in the form of grants, subsidies or scholarships, it is necessary to mention the foundation or organization on the acknowledgments page, listing everybody from the organization, who you were in contact with.
If your university scholarship was funded by some company or organization, it must also be mentioned.
Personal gratitude to the people who have supported you morally insert closer to the end. Here, many people give their thanks to parents, friends, loved ones and all those who have supported them morally during the work on the project. Most likely, it is not necessary to thank the members of the basketball team from the primary school, unless they have fundamentally affected your life, and research.
Remember that your relationship with today’s friends and loved ones may change over time, and most likely, it is necessary to leave the declaration of love and eternal friendship outside the pages of thanks, in order for your scientific work not to remind you of an unhappy love affair or a failed friendship in the future.
The acknowledgement page should not contain any personal stories and jokes, comprehensible only to you and a small circle of initiates.
You have probably read books, where page of acknowledgements were on several pages – don’t do that to your readers. Try to make your acknowledgements on one page. Don’t be afraid to leave somebody out. Thus, if your acknowledgment section is more than one page, delete some people.
The tone of this section can be very tricky. If you’re writing a fiction book, it is basically the only place in your book you have an opportunity to write in your own voice instead of the characters’. If you are writing a nonfiction story, make sure that your writing is done in a casual tone, but is not too far from the tone in your nonfiction book. In general, all the manuals on how to write an acknowledgement tell you to be professional, casual, and descriptive.
The page with acknowledgements is usually placed within the front matter of books, however, sometimes it can be seen in the back. Sometimes the acknowledgements section can be grouped within the preface. If the acknowledgements part stands alone, it should follow the preface according to The Chicago Manual of Style on how to write an acknowledgement. Some authors choose to insert acknowledgements either after or before the table of contents. In order to choose the best place for your acknowledgements, discuss it with your editor in case you are writing a book, or with your scientific supervisor, in case you are writing a diploma.
You should ask permission of those you are planning to include in your acknowledgements section, especially if you are not close with them. This is especially relevant to the writers of nonfiction or authors whose books or articles may be controversial. Some people you want to thank to might wish to stay undisclosed due to privacy issues. If you are not sure they want to be included in your acknowledgements section, it is always better to ask first than risking losing a supporter.
Your speech should not exceed 1-2 minutes. If you are going to pronounce from a stage, because you are receiving some reward, or if are attracting the attention of all the people in the room on some other occasion, you should be sure you mention everyone in your gratitude speech. However, you also should not forget that there are people in front of you who hardly eager to listen to an alphabetical list of unfamiliar names. Remember that brevity is the sister of talent.
First of all, give your thanks to those who are present. Your gratitude speech can have a lot of people who have helped you in reaching your success, but some of them will be present and will hear your gratitude, while others – not. If your time is limited, it is better to thank those who are present, because it will be more important and emotionally.
Tell a short funny story to thank an important group of people. If you want to tell a story that is relevant to the success, for which you are celebrated, it will be just fine. But do not tell a long, complicated story about each one you would like to thank. Choose the story carefully and give preference to the one, which refers to the number of people present, who you would like to say thank you to. In this case, the story will be meaningful and useful.
The perspective to revive your speech with jokes and tease the audience from the stage may seem very tempting. If you are a talented comedian by nature, it is quite possible, but if not, it would be safer if your speech from the stage will be true and as succinctly as possible. Your simple and sincere thanks will sound much more natural and more enjoyable than ironic jokes.