I have an academic problem that I'm very interested in and want to explore the related research fields. Of course no researcher knows everything going on in a field but I feel I know far too less to go for a PhD right now. I'm in the last year of my undergraduate program right now.
What I did so far is...
- Read a lot of papers. They build on a large corpus of knowledge so before understanding the theoretical details I have to read all those somewhat related publications.
- Read advances papers for better understanding. This works quite well.
- Organize links to all interesting publications and other material in a document. Not sure if it's really useful though. I haven't had time to read things from there I didn't remember anyway yet.
- Start implementing the ideas and algorithms as computer programs. Doing so is good to validate my understanding but also takes a lot of time and it would be good to get some help when I'm stuck.
- Join mailing lists and groups and talk to researchers. It's more networking than information.
- Take somewhat related classes at other universities since there is not much at mine. However, there are no whole courses on the problem I'm interested in since it's too specific.
This all is a lot of fun. It also obviously takes a considerable amount of time. Do you have any advice to more efficiently organize and catch up with the current state of my academic field of interest?