How To Compose Your Research Paper Acknowledgement Page: Basic Hints

You’ve finally finished that important research paper. You’re extremely proud of the work you’ve done, and you want to make sure you get to acknowledge the people who helped you get through the process. Here are some basic hints on how to go about letting everyone (and everything) that helped you know how appreciative you are. First, be sure to give an introduction with a general thank you to everyone you’ve come in contact with while doing this work. (E.g. This paper was made possible by every person in my life who had to deal with me while I was working on my passion.) This may seem like a no-brainer, but it really helps people who may not receive an individualized thank you to feel like you are acknowledging them as well.

Second, begin to acknowledge individually those who helped you the most. Here it is imperative to prioritize. While your instinct might be first to thank your friends and family, if you think about it, who really helped you achieve this goal the most? More than likely it was a professor or mentor or even a research assistant. Not only does this make sense, but you also don’t want to alienate any possible future colleagues by thanking Aunt Joan before your advisor. Here is a sample of how to prioritize this list.

  • Mentors/ Professors
  • Research Assistants/ Other Students
  • Family
  • Friends
  • *Dogs, cats, birds, fish
  • *Inanimate objects (such as your favorite car or lucky pencil).
  • *These last two may or may not be allowed by your particular department, depending on how formal they are or how much of a sense of humor they have.

After each acknowledgement, make sure to add a line or two as to why this person helped you so much. This is the meat of the acknowledgement page, but should not become a paper in itself. It can be as simple as “she always read my drafts as soon as I gave them to her” or “She was always ready with that 3rd cup of coffee I didn’t think I needed.” Just try to be as thankful as possible, while still being concise.

Finally: Be appropriate! (*See above about thanking birds, fish and cars). You know what kind of department and faculty you are dealing with. If your research paper is on the History of Stand-up Comedy, your acknowledgement page might look rather different than if it’s on the Cultural Implications of 17th Century Sanitation Practices.

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