DISCLAIMER: This is an open ended question and stackexchange puritans would probably feel an extraordinary urge to vote it down to oblivion. However, I cannot think of any other forum more appropriate and promising for getting answer to this question.
While working on a research problem for course project I realize that if I model my problem in a particular way I could use techniques from a specialized track [for the recent case - PASCAL Recognizing Textual Entailment Challenge]. After the initial joy, I'm generally puzzled by the numerous papers with all of them silently shouting "Read me, else you'll miss the best way to solve the problem!". How does one learn to filter which paper to read and which one to discard in the face of deadline? Anything other than sort_by_citation count?