How to Write an Acknowledgement

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An acknowledgement allows you to thank people for helping you, especially on an important project. Acknowledgements most frequently show appreciation to people who have made a significant contribution to your completion of a report or formal essay, a thesis or dissertation, or of course, a book. These contributors have enhanced the quality of your work and it's sometimes difficult to convey the full extent of what their aid meant to you. An acknowledgement serves as a way to recognize your contributors for what they've specifically added to your work.

1 List

List on a sheet of paper the people who have helped you on your project. You might consider including the following people: supervisors, teachers, professors, advisers, librarians, laboratory assistants, colleagues, parents, other family members, friends. Next to each name, note how they helped or why you want to thank them.

2 Revise the list

Revise the list so that it fills up only half a page of paper. Most acknowledgements, typed, are one-half to a full page in length, depending on the project. Only keep people on your list who played a major role in assisting you. Finalize the list.

3 Making

Type up a rough draft of the acknowledgement, making sure you're clear what you're thanking each person for having done. For example, if a professor edited multiple drafts of a report for both grammatical and content errors, you might write: "My entirely patient professor, Dr. Joan Smith, tirelessly edited several drafts of my report, and I want to thank her for all her tedious work and extensive guidance."

4 Check your rough draft

Check your rough draft to be sure your language is appropriate and formal. Be conscious of grammar and accepted rules of writing. Be concise. Use full and correctly spelled names when referring to the people in your acknowledgement. Have an unbiased person review it and be open to criticism.

5 Revise your acknowledgement with the suggestions

Revise your acknowledgement with the suggestions you received. Fix any grammatical errors. After you've finished revising it, proofread the final draft and read it aloud to catch overlooked errors.

6 Use the same font

Use the same font as used in your project to write the acknowledgement, and appropriately place it within your work. For example, in a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgement page comes after the dedication but before the introduction. For a detailed report or project assigned by an instructor or professor, you may have been given specific guidelines to follow for your acknowledgement page. Follow those instructions carefully.

Mary H. Snyder started her career as a technical/business writer for SRI International in Menlo Park, California. She has written for various local publications such as "The Butler Eagle" and "The Herndon Connection." She holds a Master of Arts in English from Bucknell University.