Supervisors need more than metaphors and models of writing about literatures. They need strategies that will take the doctoral researcher from feeling awash in a sea of information to finding patterns and making sense. Doctoral researchers need guidance to make economic notes, to sort and sift to the point where they can write a tightly argued case for their work. Ultimately they need to locate their research in the literatures, indicate which texts are most helpful and suggest how their contribution builds on and takes forward previous scholarship.