I had some Ph.D positions available to me after my undergraduation which I could not take owing to some personal reasons and instead chose to take an industrial job which basically is also research based. However, the environment is not heavily research based and the collaborative opportunities are less, with . The prospect of doing a Ph.D while being in the industry is also miniscule. I have published research in good journals during my undergraduation and while in job too, and deeply desire to publish more and enjoy the research process. However at times, I feel directionless and without guidance, I have to spend too much time going through relevant papers/books which at times lead to diversions which I realize at a later time. I have some questions which I would be grateful to, for the answers.
a) How should I increase collaborations in this scenario? I participate in conferences whenever I can get chance, however I feel I don't have the pre-requisite subject knowledge in depth which a Ph.D student would have. Thus I feel hesitant in communicating with researchers. For this, I try to study course books relevant to the topic.
b) How can one avoid and know diversions from the research topics in absence of someone to discuss with? What role does peer group play in a graduate school in such scenarios ?