There are a lot of people/websites/organizations that I want to include in the acknowledgement section of my master thesis. I think it does not look good if I name all of them in sequence with a brief explanation.

Would a numbered or bullet list or even a table be acceptable for this purpose? Do you know some useful template?

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    Please edit your question to state where you are putting this acknowledgement section. Book, PhD dissertation, conference poster, journal article, something else? Are there externally imposed page limits or formatting rules? Will your formatting choices have to be approved by co-authors, supervisors, examiners, editors, or reviewers? As it stands, the question is far too vague to answer. – Pont Feb 13 '17 at 8:38
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    What about having a numbered or bullet list or even a table for this purpose? What about rethinking your approach to who really deserves an acknowledgement and cutting down your list to a more manageable size? Websites, really? Would you care to give an example of the kind of website you feel so indebted to that you feel it would be personally offended if you didn't thank it? – Dan Romik Feb 13 '17 at 8:39
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    @DanRomik cutting down the list is a good idea. As an example, there is a blog with lots of good mathematical examples who even answered me in chat. Or people in stats.stackexchange.com community. I really couldn't finish my thesis without them! – Woeitg Feb 13 '17 at 9:24
  • @pont I update the question. I dont have any limit by format and there is no reviewer. – Woeitg Feb 13 '17 at 9:25
  • Have you tried asking your thesis supervisor? An experienced researcher should be able to help with implicit academic conventions – dimpol Feb 13 '17 at 14:15

In our format, acknowledgement is part of foreword which is at most 1 page, which goes usually something like this:

Working with Thesis has been pain but thanks to my colleagues fun. I want to acknowledge my supervisor and advisor for their effort... I could not have finished my Thesis without the support from... Also special thanks for those that use Latex instead of the hideous WYSIWYG, you have saved my eyesight.

You should see previous Thesis from your university or department for an example about how you do it.

EDIT: Here is an example: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/36413/Thesis.pdf?sequence=1 , but it could be that your department does it in a different way.

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    This doesn't seem to answer the question. Looking at previous thesis might help, but seeing a short list of acknowledgements still doesn't tell you much how to deal with a lot of people you want to thank. Also, opinions might differ, but it seems to me rather unprofessional to write: "Also special thanks for those that use Latex instead of the hideous WYSIWYG, you have saved my eyesight." – dimpol Feb 13 '17 at 13:50
  • @dimpol foreword is not a serious place as is the main text. It is not scientific text and it can be almost anything. I have indeed seen that thanks to Latex users in a Masters Thesis. For a dissertation many give a small story about their life, especially if it is done later in life. The point is that acknowledgement has no universal standard template, but if none other has made a numbered bullet list in your department, then it is not a good idea to do so ether. If everybody else has text, then even if it feels forced, one should do it as a text. – user3644640 Feb 13 '17 at 14:02
  • Following the general style of previous thesis is in general good advice. The problem however is when you only find relatively short acknowledgement. Are they short because you should be selective, or because there are relatively few people to thank? And what criteria should you use to choose? From previous work you can only see who they choose to thank, not who they choose to omit and why. As for the quote: it was more about how you said it as opposed to what you said. But I now realize English might not be your native language, so that could also explain it. – dimpol Feb 13 '17 at 14:17
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    @dimpol Yes, English is not my native language, so I do not get the feelings associated with certain ways of speaking. vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/36413/… Here is an example Thesis where there is a long acknowledgement and even a poem. We have an archive of old Thesis works; it is probable that any university has a one. If you sample them and all have a short acknowledgement then I would advise not to write a long one. You can write a long one and let your supervisor judge whether that is appropriate. – user3644640 Feb 13 '17 at 14:28
  • @user3644640 I wouldn't expect a supervisor to comment on the acknowledgement, unless it is well outside the bounds of acceptability in content or length. The acknowledgement is a personal message, and should be irrelevant to the assessment of the thesis. – MJeffryes Mar 15 '17 at 17:28

I have read hundreds of acknowledgements of both masters and PhD theses, just for fun. They are always about half a page, written in full sentences with about three paragraphs, and virtually always follow the following format:

  • Paragraph 1: Advisor, then other significant academic help you received from professors and other related people.
  • Paragraph 2 and possibly others: Less significant help, possibly funding sources, other academic people, websites, etc.
  • Paragraph 3: Fellow students, friends, family, in that order. Then significant other last if you have one.

It's perhaps a little surprising that they all are so consistent, but for some reason it just feels right to write this way. Chances are, you can fit the most significant contributions in this way!

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    Your notion of fun is peculiar. – Wrzlprmft Apr 16 '17 at 9:15

Best to check your university's style guide for this, if one is accessible.

A bit of advice I had when I asked my supervisor a while back, he said that it is important to keep it concise and to the point - maximum of one page, but ideally, less than this. It should include:

  • acknowledging key people - usually advisors/supervisors, family and other academics who have had a significant contribution to your understanding of a topic. Also, if anyone specifically provided practical assistance related to your dissertation.

  • acknowledge groups, this would include forums, sites like Stack Exchange etc.

Only those who have had a significant impact on you completing your work. The order is up to you - however, one way to proceed is to put the most significant first. Then a final sentence/paragraph for your family (if you wish).

What you shouldn't do is to list every single person who did something. For one thing, it'll make this section too long.

For each, write a sentence of their contribution. I found that the people assessing my dissertations (Honours, Masters and PhD) did not even acknowledge the page as it is often considered to be a personal page.

Just to repeat, this was the advice I was given when I asked about this - there is no universal template for how this section is written - but, consult your institution's style guide to see if they have any guidelines, also, ask to see other dissertations and perhaps go by what you see in them.

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