How to Write AcknowledgementWednesday, August 31st, 2011
What is an Acknowledgement?
In scientific literature, an acknowledgement is an expression of gratitude for assistance in creating a literary work. It is written on a separate page at the beginning of the paper. It comes after the dedication but before the introduction. It must not be too long; in fact, one page should be enough. Receiving credit of acknowledgment rather than authorship indicates that the person or organization did not have a direct hand in producing the work in question, but may have contributed funding, criticism, or encouragement to the author.
What to acknowledge
Various schemes exist for classifying acknowledgments; Giles & Councill (2004) give the following six categories of support:
- conceptual (or interactive communication).
Apart from citation, which is not actually considered to be an acknowledgment, acknowledgment of conceptual support is widely considered to be the most important for identifying intellectual debt. New ideas are said to hang thick in the air; the question of authorship is the matter of time as identical ideas are often generated almost simultaneously, that is why it is at least ungracious to claim one’s own exclusive authorship. In academic works, failure to give credit to sources of information and ideas often gives rise to charges of plagiarism, and “piracy” of intellectual rights such as the right to receive a royalty. Academic papers generally contain a lengthy section of footnotes or citations. Such detailed crediting of sources provides readers with an opportunity to discover more about the cited material. It also provides a check against misquotation, as it’s easy for an attributed quote to be checked when the reference is available.
Whom to thank
Usually it’s up to you to decide whom and how many people you are going to mention in your acknowledgement, but the general requirement presupposes moderate restriction upon the categories of the “acknowledged”. You cannot honour everyone in the world; on the contrary, it is utterly impolite not to thank anyone at all. Try to find the golden mean in the matter, selecting the most obvious, notable and significant contribution from your closest surrounding. Do not invent any imaginable contributors to add weight to your paper; you can find the people to thank around you, just look properly.
How to thank
There are some simple rules of how to write an acknowledgement:
- to employ proper formal language in order to sound neutral, neither affectionate nor impolite;
- to use concise format for every acknowledgement entry as the room is limited; to be neither voluble nor taciturn;
- to pay due attention to the spelling of names, titles and honours;
- to avoid irony and be amiable.
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