When a graduate/fellowship application asks about research activities, am I allowed to talk about expository pieces that I have written? For example, one semester I read a highly influential and important paper in my field. I then wrote a significant length expository piece based on it. Would this be considered a research activity? Or does this imply that it has to be original research? I looked everywhere through the application guidelines for the explicit definition of "research activity" but I couldn't seem to find it anywhere.

1 Answer 1


Writing an expository piece is not a research activity. Research activity in general refers to original research with things like systematic reviews and meta analysis falling into a gray area.

  • 6
    Strongly disagree. For purposes of a graduate/fellowship applications, any creative intellectual work counts as a research activity. Graduate applications are asking for evidence of research potential; do not sell yourself short. Just be very clear not to claim that it is original research if it isn't.
    – JeffE
    Oct 20, 2012 at 3:35
  • @JeffE Why not write that as an answer?
    – Tommi
    Oct 19, 2017 at 13:56

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