5 Things You Should Know About Research Paper Acknowledgements

Writing a research paper can be stressful and may require the assistance or opinions of other experts. Completing the work without properly acknowledging this assistance is not good etiquette. That’s what a citation page is for, right? Citations pages are standard required form for a report, but acknowledgements provide an opportunity to thank those whose time and support are integral to your project’s completion. But how do you put down what others have contributed to your work when it is not a direct quote? Here are five things you should remember when including an acknowledgements page in your research paper.

  1. Research paper acknowledgements should thank those that gave a listening ear and acted as a sounding board, but thanking your pet hamster or the pizza delivery guy for being there is not necessary.
  2. Be specific about what the person or institution did to forward your own research, and state it explicitly in the acknowledgement. Everyone likes to know that their opinions matter.
  3. Include a nod to those who disagreed with you too. There are two sides to every story, and it’s probable that their input resulted in just as much productive material as those who rubber-stamped your analysis and methods.
  4. While the acknowledgments are not the same as citations, it’s possible that someone who’s work you cited may have personally assisted you in some way either through further discussion of their own fact-finding or with ideas on the direction your treatise could take. The two pages should not be a duplicate of each other, but it is possible some sources may appear on both.
  5. Acknowledgement pages are an informal gesture for those who assisted in the completion of your work, but don’t stray too far from the tone or style of the research paper itself. It is a part of the total body of work itself, and should still flow with the rest of the report.

A well-written research paper takes time, effort and input from a variety of resources. Some will be directly quoted or summarized while others will help you form the ideas and direction of what you are trying to say. Standard academic formats include the appropriate methods for listing sources that directly influence your work. Using an acknowledgements section allows you to credit all support you receive on your research paper journey, whether formal or informal.

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