For my dissertation research, I feel like I was unproductive a lot of times because I didn’t have a good intuition about approaches to even try. I felt as if a whole year was wasted trying ideas that went nowhere. I think the reason for this is because there weren’t many related papers on my dissertation topic so when I’d read papers, I only had a few potential approaches I could think of.
Has anyone else had this problem? I also wish I had another easier/more tractable problem to work on, but my advisor wanted me to focus on this one (generalization bounds based on optimal transport theory).
Now I have some progress, but even now I’m stuck trying to make sense of a function that comes up in my generalization bound. And even that, I’m having a tough time making sense of that even for simple cases. Sometimes I think I’m being unproductive but it’s more because I lack enough relevant ideas than it is sheer laziness. And I also talked about my problem to other professors/researchers but most didn’t have much insight.