Much current debate about undergraduate student research involves a focus on ‘students as partners’ and co-constructors of knowledge (Healey, Flint & Harrington 2014, 2016). This debate reveals interesting tensions between student freedom and the role of structuring frameworks. Undergraduate lecturers and research supervisors might feel we are in a quandary concerning how far we can help manage a balance between supportive frameworks and the independence that student researchers need to develop. Will the use of the Research Skill Development (Willison & O’Regan, 2006/2018) framework and other frameworks at every step of the undergraduate research journey form a constraint, or an essential scaffold? This paper considers frameworks, scaffolds and the need for freedom and creative co-construction of knowledge to enable successful undergraduate research within the context of final year research and writing at undergraduate third year (UK), honours (Australia) or senior/fourth year (US and Canada).