September 29, 2011

Martinez’s Understanding of Dominican Baseball is Deepened Through Interviews

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InteRDom understands that a cornerstone of the research process is conducting interviews with the right people at the right time and under the proper conditions and circumstances.  That is why, when working with a student to structure any sort of research project, special emphasis is placed on locating experts and prominent figures to interview who can open the doors to a deeper knowledge on the topic.

“InteRDom has been really good at getting me contacts and helping me get around to places to interview people,” Martinez said. “If it weren’t for them I would be lost.”

For Christine Martinez, InteRDom Fall 2011 intern (seeIntroducing Chris Martinez here), the first weeks of her on-ground research have been focused on making those contacts and conducting the initial interviews that will lead her to more opportunities.

“InteRDom has been really good at getting me contacts and helping me get around to places to interview people,” Martinez said. “If it weren’t for them I would be lost.”

In fact, her first official interview was one that made an impression on Martinez, both personally and professionally, as it was with the legendary baseball talent scout Epy Guerrero.

Seen as one of the most influential scouts in baseball, Mr. Guerrero invited Martinez to his home after the initial interview to meet and have lunch with his family.  She said that he was very conversational, telling her stories and sharing experiences rather than conducting a strict question and answer session.
“It was more like we were collaborating, which is different from what my interviews in the States are like,” Martinez said. “With Epy it was like we were trying to understand one another.

“I learned so much.  I felt like he trusted me to tell me some privileged things off the record, established some trust. I was not prepared for him to be so honest and blatant with me… most people are really dodgy about it, but he was just very straightforward right off the bat.  I appreciate his qualified nature.”

Read more about Chris’s experience with Epy Guerrero in her first research article on our blog.

Interviews of this nature require some preparation, even more so when they will be conducted in a language other than one’s native one.  Martinez said that she is getting ready for the coming interviews by preparing her questions in advance.  Though her language skills have been a challenge for her, Chris has found that her interview subjects have been patient and understanding.

“I felt very intimidated [at first] because my Spanish is poor,” she said. “Then I found that the people… I meet to interview give me perspective are kind and open and interested in my work, and they’re patient because I’m learning Spanish. That puts me at ease quite a bit.”

In fact, Martinez has found that the more she communicates with the people she meets, the more doors are opened to new contacts and research sources.

“I’m surprised with how many people I’ve met who have connections in baseball,” she said. “Almost every time I’ve mentioned that I’m studying baseball here I’ve met someone influential or been referred to someone who can help me with my research.”

In addition to conducting interviews, Martinez is utilizing the print and digital resources available to her at the Juan Bosch Library at FUNGLODE, as well as articles available in various newspapers and online databases to round out her research.

Though she is happy with the progress she has made so far, Martinez is looking forward to the start of the Dominican baseball season this October to get to observe the culture surrounding baseball.

Martinez has a number of other interviews already scheduled for the coming weeks to continue with her research, including one with the Community Affairs Director at the Major League Baseball offices in Santo Domingo.

Stay abreast of the progress of her research this semester by frequenting the InteRDom Experience Series as well as the InteRDom blog, where her articles will be published.