This paper integrates different supervisory models with a view to proposing a framework that will foster a supportive intellectual environment for the supervisor-student relationship. To provide conceptual background to the discussion, the paper reviews some of the existing models for postgraduate research supervision found in the literature. The paper juxtaposes these models against the experience that we, the authors, have encountered in our supervision of student research, as well as from interviews that we conducted with other supervisors. We argue that although the existing literature sets out multiple models of research supervision, our experience has been that they have been rather prescriptive and apply to specific situations. Here we redefine our experiences through our perception of our disciplinary environment, our perception of the university environment, and our student’s perspective. Unfortunately, little attention is paid in the literature to the perspective of the student in the supervision process. We argue that to foster an effective environment in the supervision of student research, there is a need to be aware of the variation in our students’ understanding of the research situation, their educational and cultural backgrounds, their expectations of the outcomes of their study and many other factors. Our proposed framework acknowledges that postgraduate supervision is a symbiotic process where balance is integral to the development of the student as researcher.