Chromium VI is a chemical substance that can cause very many illnesses if ingested. The PG&E Company produces this chemical substance, and it causes many illnesses among the citizens of Hinkley. A legal assistant, Erin Brockovich investigates the issues and helps the victims sue the company for compensation. She reads from her boss’s files, interviews the victims and a toxicologist in her attempt to get information about the problem.
The survey method works with samples that represent huge populations. It requires researchers to formulate questions that can help them collect information that fairly describes entire populations. This method is very common among research companies that deal with politics and advertising campaigns (American Psychological Association, 2010). Since the survey method depends on samples, the researchers must be very careful when selecting their samples. Wrong samples lead to wrong conclusions (Houser, 2015).
Data Collection Methods Used by the Characters in the Film
Brockovich collects information about the contamination of the water in Hinkley from Ed’s files. She gathers more information, especially about the effects of chromium, from a toxicologist. She also gets more information from the citizens of Hinkley through one-on-one interviews. For example, she interviews Donna Johnson about the cause of the illnesses in her family. Ed and she collect information about the financial ability of PG&E from the company’s lawyer. He comes to offer them $ 250, 000 dollars. He tells them that PG&E is a 28 billion dollars company.
Brockovich finds information about the number of people suffering from the effects of chromium VI from one of the files she uses while working as Ed’s assistant. This information helps her realize that the people of Hinkley need urgent assistance. She decides to consult a toxicologist, who informs her about the dangers of Chromium VI. She then decides to interview the victims to get more information about their suffering. Many of the people she interviews reveal that they have lost many relatives and friends due to the effects of chromium. Her assessment of how the company handles the cases helps her know that the company is responsible for the illnesses.
Needs Assessment: Prevalence, Distribution and Interrelations of Variables
The needs assessment Brockovich carries out helps her gather enough information about the prevalence and distribution of the effects of chromium VI. When she realizes that the citizens of Hinkley are suffering from strange illnesses, she decides to study the problem (McCann & Haltom, 2008). Her study reveals that the problem affects many people around Hinkley. The prevalence of the illnesses prompts her to convince the victims to sue the company. A detailed analysis of the problem helps her see the interrelation between the chromium VI the company releases into the water and the illnesses.
Ethical Implications of the Researcher’s Actions
Brockovich handles the problem in a very ethical manner. She prioritizes the welfare of the victims. She does not take advantage of the people’s suffering to enrich herself. She insists that the company must pay $ 20 million to the victims (Brockovich & Lyons, 2011). Mrs. Sanchez, a representative of the company, says, “That amount is a lot more than they could imagine” (Táquez, 2009). This statement displeases Brockovich, and she tells her that the money will not go to one person. She fights them in court until they accept to give out the money. She only gets $ 2 million from this amount, and it is her employer who pays her.
The other ethical issue is her commitment to revealing corrupt undertakings that lead to the suffering of the people of Hinkley. She reveals to Donna that the PG&E Company had paid a doctor to lie to them that their illnesses are not related to the activities of the company. Therefore, her quest is entirely for the welfare of the victims.
American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Ed.). Washington, DC: APA.
Brockovich, E. & Lyons, C. (2011). Hot water (1st Ed.). New York: Vanguard Press.
Houser, J. (2015). Nursing research: Reading, using, and creating evidence. (3rd Ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett.
McCann, M. & Haltom, W. (2008). Ordinary heroes vs. failed lawyers—public interest litigation in Erin Brockovich and other contemporary films. Law & Social Inquiry 33(4), 1043-1070.
Táquez, H. (2009). Erin Brockovich. Web.