I believe this is the right place to ask this, so I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on research at the undergraduate level.

I was recently accepted into the McNair Scholars program. It is a preparatory program for students who want to go on to graduate school. I am expected to submit a research topic proposal in the middle of the spring semester and study it during the summer with a mentor.

Since I am currently in the B.S. Mathematics program and I want to get my Masters later. I figured that while my topic can be in any area, it should be in math since it is my main interest as well.

I am a junior at the moment and taking: One-Dimensional Real Analysis, Intro to Numerical Methods, and Abstract Algebra. I frequently search MathWorld and Wikipedia for topics that interest me, although I don't consider myself a brilliant student or particularly strong. I have begun speaking with professors about their research also.

I have not met any other students doing undergraduate math research and my current feeling is that many or all the problems in math are far beyond my ability to research them. This may seem a little defeatist but it seems mathematics is progressively becoming more specialized. I know that there are many areas emerging in Applied mathematics but they seem to be using much higher mathematics as well.

My current interest is Abstract Algebra and Game Theory and I have been considering if there are possibilities to apply the former to the latter.

So my questions are: 1) Are my beliefs about the possibilities of undergraduate research unfounded? 2) Where can I find online math journals? 3) How can I go about finding what has been explored in areas of interest. Should I search through Wikipedia and MathWorld bibliographies and or look in the library for research?

Thanks I hope someone can help to clarify and guide me.

mentor, so find her or him first, andthenworry about the topic. – Thierry Zell Nov 16 '10 at 18:14