Industry-standard in academia nowadays is word counts/limits. Once you reach a certain point, grad school and beyond, word limits become your nemesis, because advisors are more interested in big ideas expressed concisely instead of in meandering prose. Obviously this can vary a lot depending on the field—my research is in a sub-discipline of sociolinguistics called discourse analysis, and we try to strike a balance between qualitative narration and quantitative analysis. In technical writing, you try to be as dense as possible with no extemporaneous material whatsoever, while in literary or cultural critique, waxing poetic can be acceptable, so long as it actually contributes substantively.
I’ve had to do research on topics that I thought were really cool for creative writing classes, and that always seemed more interesting than whatever else I was gonna do. At least for first years at Hogwarts, I think all muggle-borns (or Harry) I guess should have acted like Hermione because its a whole new world for them to learn about. I mean it would be cool to learn about everything. But if you asked me to write a 4-page essay on anything I’m not going to enjoy it, it’d be interesting to read and learn about it though.