This is the second cute metaphor for helping you to get your thesis written. (Here is the first)
I’m defining the field by… standing in a paddock.
Okay, so your literature review is often described as ‘defining the field’, ‘describing the research landscape’ or ‘positioning yourself’. Doing the what?
Ahem. Imagine yourself, wearing gum boots (wellington boots, rubber boots, whatever they call them in your vernacular), and standing in a field (a paddock, a paddy, whatever they call etc etc). You need to describe where you are.
I am in the centre of the field, standing with all the important people. This field has been well defined for over 100 years and is demarcated by a high, stone wall. I will be contributing a slightly improved kind of mortar to keep the stone walls up. (Easy).
I am at the edge of the field, and much of what this part of the field is like is influenced by this other field nearby. We are officially seperated by a wire fence, but the cows break through and, in reality, we have a lot of overlap. (Pretty common).
I am breaking new ground at the far edge of this field. There are a lot of us on the northern edge, trying to move towards the river. On either side of me, people are doing some work, but my particular contribution will be this small plot, 1 metre by 1 metre. (You are never alone).
I am working between fields. This means I spend most of my time standing in a ditch, being ignored by the fields on other side of me. On the other hand, I get to use cool words to describe my situation–interdisciplinary, interstitial, interesting. (Interdisciplinarity can be hard work).
I am alone on a mountaintop. No-one has ever walked this way before, and no-one will again. This is my plot, here I will build my temple and commune with the land. (Ummmm, no. No. You need to be part of the farming ecosystem, you need to be part of the ‘community of scholars’, you need to find a boring little spot in a paddock, and describe that in detail. The work you are doing will be original, even scholarly, but it won’t be a PhD.)