The choice of a viable research topic is of critical importance and one of the most significant stages in the dissertation process. In his early work on researching tourist satisfaction, Ryan (1995) pointed out that the first of eight stages in the research process is the identification of the research problem. Yet this, as well as being one of the earliest tasks in the dissertation process, is also one of the trickiest. As I’Anson and Smith (2004: 23) have observed, in part from personal experience, ‘even with research methods teaching and support. . . . it can be overwhelming for the students’.