Hi all,

I'm about to start a final-year (Physics BSc) research project and would like some advice about how to select a topic.

I was thinking of working on quantum theory, and in particular, quantum foundations (very broadly speaking). As such, I've been reading a bunch of papers on arXiv (e.g Hardy's QM theory from 5 axioms) but there appears to be a common thread: I don't understand a lot of the concepts in the papers. And I believe that I need to be able to understand a good deal in these papers before I can identify problems to work on.

I have been told that this is a common problem amongst students, but I still don't know a good way to overcome it. In fact, I doubt that the courses left for me to read will touch on all of these concepts.

So my question is, how should I approach this issue? And how do I know if my research question is a "good" one?

Also, it'd be nice if someone could point out some concrete problems (and papers) in quantum foundations that might be interesting (and not too difficult, hopefully) to work on. Many thanks!

PS I do have a research supervisor, but I feel that I should at least get a rough sketch on the topics I'd like to work on before asking him for any detailed assistance

PPS Many a time when I read papers, I get an "ooh, that's interesting" reaction to certain ideas introduced, but an unable to go past that to form a concrete research question. Are there certain steps I can take to formulate a problem that can be worked on?

I'm about to start a final-year (Physics BSc) research project and would like some advice about how to select a topic.

I was thinking of working on quantum theory, and in particular, quantum foundations (very broadly speaking). As such, I've been reading a bunch of papers on arXiv (e.g Hardy's QM theory from 5 axioms) but there appears to be a common thread: I don't understand a lot of the concepts in the papers. And I believe that I need to be able to understand a good deal in these papers before I can identify problems to work on.

I have been told that this is a common problem amongst students, but I still don't know a good way to overcome it. In fact, I doubt that the courses left for me to read will touch on all of these concepts.

So my question is, how should I approach this issue? And how do I know if my research question is a "good" one?

Also, it'd be nice if someone could point out some concrete problems (and papers) in quantum foundations that might be interesting (and not too difficult, hopefully) to work on. Many thanks!

PS I do have a research supervisor, but I feel that I should at least get a rough sketch on the topics I'd like to work on before asking him for any detailed assistance

PPS Many a time when I read papers, I get an "ooh, that's interesting" reaction to certain ideas introduced, but an unable to go past that to form a concrete research question. Are there certain steps I can take to formulate a problem that can be worked on?

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