Would it be alright to break down the acknowledgements of a thesis into a few small sections with individual section headings?

For example:

  • Academic and Professional Acknowledgements
  • Personal Acknowledgements
  • Funding Acknowledgements

This is because I have seen some long acknowledgements and I was wondering whether breaking down the acknowledgements in this manner would help organize the components better?

In the event that someone plans to read my thesis (such as for a potential post-doc position), I assume that they might at least skim through the acknowledgements to see the academics/researchers I have worked with and also the funding received. Therefore breaking down the acknowledgements into smaller sections might make it easier. However I have not seen this done so I was wondering whether it would be an acceptable thing to do or whether it might be frowned upon?

  • Most people probably only read the acknowledgements! – user151413 Jul 30 '20 at 23:29
  • ... on a different note, I'm not sure if your organization makes sense: What about office mates with whom you both had valuable discussions and who were good personal company? – user151413 Jul 30 '20 at 23:30
  • @user151413 I would expect that people who are not interested in the work or familiar with the subject matter to only read the acknowledgements. In my case, I would thank my office mates under the personal acknowledgements section since I was in an office where I did not really discuss my research or get help from them since they were all in slightly different subject areas with different supervisors. – NM_ Jul 30 '20 at 23:34
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    Generally you can put whatever you want in the acknowledgements section of a thesis, within the bounds of general good taste and your university's formatting requirements, and nobody is likely to care or "frown" in any way. – Nate Eldredge Jul 31 '20 at 1:38

Provided that you don't get pushback from your advisor or committee, I think it should be fine. Those are the main concerns about style for a dissertation. If you send it out for publication, the editor may accept it or not.

But write it they way you think it should be and consider any advice you get from folks that have influence over you.

  • I'd add that I recently discovered a prestigious journal where separating funding acknowledgements from other acknowledgements is mandatory. This is odd. – Anonymous Physicist Jul 31 '20 at 8:41

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