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Thesis acknowledgements, which are also sometimes referred to as dissertation acknowledgements, are much like the acknowledgements that appear in printed texts. In fact, in cases when theses become printed books, the thesis acknowledgements are often used as the acknowledgements in the book. In these cases, the names of editors and publishers might be added to the list. The primary purpose of thesis acknowledgements are to thank the various people who supported the student during the research and writing processes of the thesis. The people listed in the acknowledgements are often faculty members such as professors but may also include librarians, lab workers, family and friends, and any other university staff who were instrumental in the development of the thesis.
The writing of thesis acknowledgements can be a rewarding experience for the student who has the opportunity to reflect back on the years — which may have been many — that were spent on his thesis. Furthermore, writing the acknowledgements is also a way to think of the many people who offered suggestions, support, and advice while the student was completing research for his thesis and translating that research into a dissertation. Many students may find that there is quite a long list of people who could potentially be included in the acknowledgements. It is best, however, to keep thesis acknowledgements within the range of one single-spaced page.
Though a single page of acknowledgements is generally considered best, some programs have their own unique requirements for thesis acknowledgements. As such, the guide and rules set out by the university should be consulted before beginning to compile and write and acknowledgements page. In some cases, including an acknowledgements page is required and in other instances it is optional.
A good way to prepare to write thesis acknowledgements is to read successful examples. Many universities bind and store copies of all theses written by matriculated students in the campus library. Reviewing the acknowledgements written by other students is a good way to begin the process. It is a particularly good idea to read the acknowledgements of students in the same field who may have conducted similar research for their theses. Finally, an acknowledgements section can be reviewed with a thesis adviser prior to submitting the thesis to make sure that it is complete and is written with the right tone of respect and gratitude.
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