The everyday life of a researcher is rarely like what’s portrayed on TV. You’re more likely to be found reading a stack of research papers than standing in a lab holding test tubes, in the field conducting surveys, or taking observations of your subjects.
Reading and understanding the latest research on your focus areas and learning the latest techniques are critical for researchers. Once they have the data, researchers also spend considerable time analyzing them and understanding the results of their studies before producing the paper and publishing them.
This can take a serious chunk of their everyday lives and is a significant bottleneck in conducting research.
And let’s face it, even the best researchers at the top of their fields were probably not trained writers – and reading even about the most exciting research can be a not-so-exciting affair.
This is the exact conundrum that Uma Maheshwari found herself in.
Finding time while balancing research, studies, and other commitments
After a 13-year career in the IT industry, Uma began working on her academic research along with her full-time job. Her research focuses on how HR development can create a more equitable workplace and the double biases people experience based on their gender and ethnicity.
As part of her research, she spends a considerable amount of time reading research papers on her subject – and there’s no way out of it. But managing her full-time job and taking care of her two kids meant it took serious effort to read these papers completely and work on her research.
Uma had previously tried text-to-speech tools to listen to these research papers, but they had their limitations. These tools struggled when it came to diagrams or images – and it didn’t necessarily cut down on the time she had to spend understanding the papers. She often had to read entire papers before knowing if they were even relevant to her research.
Then during one of her doctoral association meetings, Uma heard a fellow student saying that there are apps that summarized research papers they spent time reading. She looked them up and decided that bundleIQ was simple enough to use and to give it a shot.
Soon enough, bundleIQ became part of her daily life
At first, Uma thought that bundleIQ was a static app. But soon she was uploading every research paper in her workspace and discovered that bundleIQ was great for summarising them.
According to Uma, “bundleIQ did a great job of summarising these papers.” She actually compared the original text to the summary and saw that the app was completely rephrasing them and not just selecting and sharing relevant sections of the text.
Being a researcher, Uma appreciated the footnotes that the summaries had which showed the papers that the app summarized. The footnotes made it easy to cite these papers if she had to in her research paper.
The summaries were also conscious of the size of the research papers. “If the summary is the same size or length as the original paper, it won’t make much of a difference. But with bundleIQ, the summary is way smaller than the paper without losing any of the crucial pieces of information,” says Uma. For instance, if it's a 17-page paper, the summary may be around one or two paragraphs. But at the same time, she has also received a four-page summary for a 20-page paper.
Uma explained that the summaries also helped her to quickly realize which sections of the paper were most relevant.
Besides the summaries, bundleIQ also helped her better understand these papers and gauge how much she understood. If she had more time, Uma would read the papers, write her own summary, and benchmark it against bundleIQ’s summary. Ever since she started using bundleIQ, Uma has uploaded more than 500 pages worth content and made around 20 bundles.
Uma says that one of the unexpected benefits of bundleIQ was that it helped her read better. Academic papers often have newspaper-like columns and use small fonts which she personally doesn’t like. With bundleIQ, she could get the summaries on multiple pages or on a single page.
The bundleIQ impact
Before using bundleIQ, Uma spent around 6 hours a day on research. With bundleIQ, she was able to cut down that time to just 3 hours.
At the same time, Uma was also able to read and understand more papers in a single day. Back before she was using bundleIQ, Uma was able to go through a maximum of two papers in a day. With the help of bundleIQ, she is now reading around 6 research papers in a day.
To top these off, Uma loved bundleIQ’s customer service experience too
In one of the instances when Uma was attempting to access bundleIQ, she was prompted to renew or upgrade her subscription. She reached out to customer service and she says she got an immediate response and the problem was resolved quickly.