The Acknowledgments section of your dissertation is unlikely to win you any marks, but since it's probably the third or fourth page that your marker will read, you don't want to start by forgetting to thank someone important. After all, one of the markers is often your supervisor or another academic who may have helped you. Don't irritate them before they get to page 5!
This section is often written at the last minute. If you're in a rush, we've put together an article that should help you write your dissertation acknowledgements section in 10 minutes or less. It's certainly not the only way to write the acknowledgments section, but it's a fairly robust one. You can access it here. However, since the person marking your dissertation may also have helped you at some point, it is worth spending more time getting this right if you can.
Some academics have conducted research on the structure of acknowledgement sections in dissertations. Whilst this research does not explain whether a particular structure will be preferred by the person marking your dissertation, it does show you the typical structure students' use in their Acknowledgments section. We illustrate this structure, but remember that ultimately this is a personal choice. There is no "one best way".
The common acknowledgement structure is based on three moves: (a) the reflective move; (b) the thanking move; and (c) the announcing move. You can think of each move as a paragraph within your Acknowledgments section that communicates something different to the reader. For example, the thanking move refers to the paragraph of the acknowledgments section where you thank various people and/or organisations for their help during the dissertation process, setting out the reasons for thanking them. In the sections that follow, we take you through each of these three moves, providing examples.