Assessing Destination Image from the Experience of the MEOSOUTHWEST Music Festival: A Combined Use of CAQDAS

  • Ana Isabel Rodrigues
  • Sandra Saúde


The (MEO) Southwest festival is considered one of the oldest and most popular music festivals held in Portugal in the last 20 years. This type of event plays an important role in the territory where it takes place (in this case Alentejo Coastal/Southwest region), influences image building and also contributes to destination popularity and attractiveness.

The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate the potentialities and added value of the combined use of two Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) packages. The ultimate goal is to explore and better characterize latent and factual meanings about the destination image built by festivalgoers related to the Alentejo Coastal/Southwest region, based on the experience of participation in the (MEO)Southwest music festival.

The starting point of the study was the economic and sociocultural impact study carried out by the MEOSouthwest festival on its 20th anniversary in 2017. Given its history and the lack of existence, to date, of any study on the relation of the festival with the territory, the Municipality of Odemira decided to contract the Polytechnic Institute of Beja to conduct the study. Following the results obtained focused on an eminently transversal impact evaluation (Saúde, Lopes, Borralho, & Féria, 2019), a complementary follow-up phase was conducted, the main objective of which is to characterize the impact of participation in the festival in 2017 on festivalgoers’ perceived image of the destination itself: Alentejo Coastal/Southwest region. The research questions of this second study are as follows (Saúde & Rodrigues, 2019):

  • What image do festivalgoers have about the region after participating in (MEO) Southwest?
  • What are the three distinctive characteristics that, according to festivalgoers, make the region unique and different in Portugal?

In order to answer the research questions, data were collected based on three questions:

  • Did the trip to MEO-Southwest 2017 influence your image of the region (Alentejo Coastal/Southwest)? (select the option that fits your opinion)
  • If you answered Yes in the previous question (i.e: I started to have a more positive or negative image), describe the image you have now;
  • Without overthinking, please indicate three characteristics that make the Alentejo Coastal/Southwest region unique and different from other places you have visited in Portugal? (open answer question).

The answers were given by a sample of 122 festivalgoers in June 2018, 11 months after their participation in the 2017 edition of the festival.

In line with the study objectives, the choice of categorical content analysis is justified (Bardin, 2010), in which the structuring categories were identified based on the images of the region perceived by festivalgoers. A combination of two content analysis software packages was used (T-LAB and webQDA), allowing, on one hand, enhanced definition of dimensions, categories and subcategories of analysis, usually very laborious processes (Costa & Amado, 2018) and, on the other hand, improving the holistic interpretation of qualitative data collected. The analytical approach was first exploratory and then descriptive, based on two phases of data analysis based on a complementary relation of the two CAQDAS:

1)      1st phase: The use of T-LAB[1] to perform an exploratory analysis of the corpus, extracting the first ideas and trying to understand the relationship between words and keywords. Co-occurrence analysis was performed, particularly "Word Association" and "Sequence Analysis". Through this analysis, the words which respondents repeated and/or associated equally in their answers could be identified (example: words that appear equally before or after others in the syntactic units clarified);2)      2nd phase: the use of webQDA[2] for organizing and systematizing the thoughts resulting from the previous phase, framed by deductive analysis and based on a schema for image dimensions, using Beerli & Martin’s (2004) classification typology. Thus, the coding and interpretation phase was undertaken following a deductive approach. The combined use of two CAQDAS is justified by their having complementary analytical potentials, one more in the exploratory component of the data (T-Lab) and the other more focused on the holistic interpretation of meanings (webQDA). As an example, the following figures (1 and 2) represent outputs of data analysis from T-Lab and webQDA respectively.

Based on this analysis, Figure 1 shows how the words appear sequentially in the syntactical units analysed; in pictures taken in the Alentejo Coastal/Southwest region, expressions like "great beaches", "liking the beaches", "beautiful beaches" and "good beaches" stand out. As mentioned previously, the use of T-Lab enables exploration of the data and identification of words the respondents repeated and/or associated equally in their answers (in this case related to the word “beaches”).

[1] More information available at:

[2] More information available at: