Can someone please help me out here?

I have a research proposal to present. I had a novel idea to present. First things first, I googled the idea and could not find it anywhere. So far so good. So I wrote down in my research proposal that 'No system had implemented (insert my idea here)...'.

However, when I peer reviewed this writing to a friend, he strongly suggested me to cite the above sentence 'No system..'

My doubt is how do I cite it? I did not find the idea anywhere.

Is my choice of using this sentence 'No system..' wrong?

  • 2
    Most people say that "To the best of my knowledge, no system...."
    – Dawn
    Oct 2, 2017 at 3:02
  • 1
    Also you are going to want to do more than a google search. Check additional academic databases and mix up your keywords, etc.
    – Dawn
    Oct 2, 2017 at 3:03
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    It is also nice to cite related work in the field investigating the same question and say why what you are doing is novel in relation to it. Oct 2, 2017 at 3:04
  • @Dawn : Thanks for the quick reply. Can we write 'To the best of my knowledge' in a research proposal? I am a newbie. so apologies if this is a sill question.
    – ravipandhi
    Oct 2, 2017 at 3:09
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    From what you say, "I googled the idea and could not find it anywhere", your research of previous work doesn't seem very thourough, I suggest you to dig more in the literature before claiming to have a novel idea.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Oct 2, 2017 at 8:40

1 Answer 1


It is perfectly fine to write "to the best of our knowledge" -- assuming you really made a thorough search. It is especially important that you look up all research papers that try to solve similar problems and confirm that they do not use the idea you propose (maybe in disguise). If you find something broadly similar, cite it, and discuss what makes your idea different to the one you found.

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