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.
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.