How to Do Math Research in High School
Research is an annoying part of academia regardless of which subject it is in, but researching mathematics is a difficult beast to manage because it’s hard to do. What do you look for? How do you research math in the first place? It’s just extremely difficult to do, especially when you’re young and don’t have the experience in the field you need to make it a little more bearable. But if you are interested in conducting honest math research, here’s the way to go about it.
Your Research Doesn’t Necessarily Have to Answer a Question
Original math research generally requires you to tackle a problem that no one has solved yet. However, if you are still in high school, you likely don’t even know all of the aspects of math you would need to make a breakthrough on these extremely difficult problems that even experienced mathematicians haven’t solved. But your math teacher usually knows this, and they hardly expect you to make the next huge math breakthrough in your research. You almost definitely won’t be penalized if your research doesn’t amount to a valid answer. Of course, it’s frustrating for all of your effort to come to naught, but it isn’t something that will affect your grade.
Along that same line, don’t be disappointed by the fact that you aren’t really making any progress on the problem you’re tackling. You’re a high school student; it would be ridiculous for you to solve some math problems that mathematicians haven’t solved yet after all the decades the problems have existed. The research isn’t trying to facilitate actual success, but learning through the research.
Know Who to Ask for Insight
Believe it or not, but math research isn’t very common. It isn’t a normal pastime for your average person. That being the case, it is very difficult to get good advice on it, in person or otherwise. Your best bet is to actually get aid from, well, math people. Math teachers, math professors, mathematicians, whoever; the best way to learn how to conduct math research is to ask people who have, in fact, conducted math research of their own. After all, no one is going to be able to explain the very difficult and technical process than they.
Of course, most of us don’t have a mathematician on speed dial, so other than your actual math teacher, you might not have anyone to turn to in person. It’s a bit harder to find the kind of information you need with a Google search, but the info is out there. This, for example, is an extremely detailed, thorough explanation of mathematical research and how to go about it. Finding such examples and lessons from experienced mathematicians is a great way for you, a high schooler, to get a firm grasp on how this complex and frustrating process works.
It’s Easier to Pick Open Questions
As a high schooler, it’s very difficult to try and answer a problem no one has solved before. It’s even more difficult to try and come up with a problem that no one has ever even asked before. That said, don’t try to. You don’t need to come up with some extremely elusive question that has never been asked by anyone in the history of math. That’s more trouble than you want, and it’s more than your teacher is expecting of you. You won’t have to do something like that to get a good grade.
It’s much easier to pick open questions; problems that have been asked before, even if no answer has been found. The benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to come up with a whole research topic from scratch. You won’t have to brainstorm for a brand new problem to solve, and there will already be some research for you to look into and base your own research off of. For a high schooler who absolutely does not have the math knowledge to be conducting their own original research into their own original problem, this is the safest bet for you in conducting a well-graded math research project.
A More Expensive, Less Troublesome Option
Despite how difficult math research is, it is, like most things, something you can pay someone else to write a research paper for you. Even something as frustrating and technical as math research can be bought from a willing individual online. There are many essay writing services online that tackle just about any problem, including math research of any length or difficulty. A legitimate essay writing site will conduct research and write a research paper even for mathematics.
Of course, this is definitely one of the subject types that costs a lot of money. Since math research is quite difficult, you’d have to pay an essay writing service a pretty penny for them to carry out all the hard work for you. But that said, if you have money to spare instead of time or motivation, it is probably a good deal.
Ultimately, math research is not easy, and it’s more about your application prowess and not your overall knowledge of mathematics, which is clearly not as complete as it needs to be to truly do real math research. Know where to set your sights and what is expected of you, and things will go much smoother.