Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample

Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample

Guidelines/Instructions for the film Critique Write a three-page double spaced analysis critique on the film Erin Brockovich. The paper should be no more than three pages. The three pages do not include title page, abstract, or reference pages. Use the areas listed below as headings or topics of each paragraph you write Component of the film critique analysis on Erin Brockovich: • Discuss what type of research was used and what characteristics support your choice • What method was used by the characters in the film to gather data? • Apply PICOT format to discuss the research in the film. • Discuss one ethical principle in regard to researcher’s behavior and discuss informed consent, privacy and confidentiality and whether or not it was maintained •. Provide a conclusion • APA format is required Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample


Erin Brockovich is an American biographical movie is based on a real story of Erin Brockovich, who researches on the f medical cases of Hinkley residents. As Erin examines these cases, she establishes a connection amid the health problems of members of the Hinkley community and the Pacific gas and electric company’s plant in Hinkley. She establishes the health problems experienced by Hinkley residents are caused by presence of hexavalent chromium in water, which permeates underground water system via the company’s factory in Hinkley. The paper examines the research concepts evident in the movie., the type of research used in the film, methods of data collection and the principles of informed consent, confidentiality and privacy during research.


The type of research used in the film

The kind of research used in Erin Brockovich film is qualitative research because Erin used research to uncover the cause of the numerous health problems experience by residents of Hinkley town. Sanjar et al (2014) argue that qualitative research is used in explaining, clarifying and elaborating the meaning of diverse aspects of human experiences. When Erin sees medical records of Donna in the case file Erin researches on Donna’s condition and why she was always treated by PG& E doctor.  Erin establishes that it was because of chromium.

According to Sanjar et al (2014) in qualitative research, data is gathered with a focus upon multidimensional narratives and interviews to generate an explanation of the experiences. Therefore, the researcher acts a mediator amid the respondents’ experiences and the community of the people concerned. When Erin digs deeper into the case, she finds proof that the groundwater in Hinkley town is extremely polluted with unsafe hexavalent chromium, but the PG& E has been lying to Hinkley occupants that they utilize a form of chromium that is safe.

The method used by the characters in the film to gather data

The character uses face to face interviews to gather data. Erin interviews Donna about her condition and why PG&E would offer her a doctor. Erin also used unstructured face to face interviews with Hinkley residents. The face to face interviews and interactions with Hinkley residents enabled the researcher to establish a relationship with participants and thus get their cooperation. Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample

Information is also gathered through analyzing medical records and records from the water board and observing health problems of Hinkley residents.  According to Pathak et al (2013) the three broad groups of qualitative research are interview studies, observational studies and documentary analysis of numerous written records. Erin interviews Hinkley residents, observes the different health problems they have and medical records.

Applying PICOT format to discuss the research in the film

P (population) -Who is the sample of subjects, the researcher wishes to recruit for the study. The relevant participants are Residents of Hinkley town whose underground water is contaminating with hexavalent chromium.

I- Intervention refers to the scheme that will be used to decontaminate groundwater in Hinkley or to compel PG& E Company to use a safe form of chromium to ensure that residents do not encounter health problems brought about by the consumption of hexavalent chromium.

C (comparison) – identifies what the researcher plans to use as a reference group to make a comparison with his/her intervention. In this case, the researcher can compare the health of Hinkley residents with the health of people outside Hinkley town where water is not contaminated with hexavalent chromium.

O (Outcome) – the result of measuring the effectiveness of the implemented intervention. The researcher can perform tests on water to establish if it still contains unsafe hexavalent chromium.

T (time) – defines the duration of data collection. Data can be collected over a period of six months.

An ethical principle in regard to researcher’s behavior and whether or not informed consent, confidentiality and privacy were maintained

On ethical principal in regard to the behavior of the researcher was failure to protect privacy of the Donna’s medical records. When obtaining medical data from the case file, Erin did not gain Donna’s consent to archive the date. It was important for Erin to make sure that personal information must be kept confidential. According to Fouka and Mantzo (2011),   invasion of privacy occurs when a researcher shares private information such as records without the consent or knowledge of the individual.  Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample

The key ethical concerns that a researcher should consider when undertaking qualitative research are privacy, informed consent and confidentiality. According to Sanjari et al (2014), for a researcher, confidentiality implies that the researcher must elaborate the form of result that may be anticipated from the survey. The researcher should try to lessen the probability of intruding into the independence the people participating in the study. The researcher did not maintain confidentiality because she had to convince Hinkley residents to take part in the research, implying that they were initially not willing to participate.

Informed consent stresses the responsibility of the researcher to notify participants of the diverse elements of the study in a language that they understand. The researcher needs to clarify issues such as the role of potential participant, identity of researcher and the way results of the research will be used (Sanjari et al, 20114). Erin did not maintain the principle of informed consent because she did not inform Hinkley residents of how she would use the information she gathered from them and how the research will be beneficial to them.

Privacy is the liberty a person has to establish the extent, time and universal situations under which personal information is withheld from or shared with others. A researcher can safeguard the privacy of participants by executing procedures that don’t divulge information to other people as having a particular health problem (Sanjari et al, 2014). Erin did not maintain privacy because she revealed that Donna had numerous tumors, with her spouse having Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample


Erin Brockovich is an influential movie that demonstrates how Erin uses research to uncover an environmental health problem and forces the PG& E to compensate victims. Through qualitative research, Erin is able to establish that the underground water in Hinkley town is contaminated with hexavalent chromium which makes residents to experience different health problems. Although Erin’s research helps her to clarify the presence of this dangerous chemical in water, she does not adhere to ethical principles of research. Principles of informed consent, privacy and confidentiality are not maintained during the study.


Fouka, G., & Mantzorou, M. (2011). What are the major ethical issues in conducting research? Is there a conflict between the research ethics and the nature of nursing? Health Science Journal, 5(1): 3-14.

Pathak, V., Jena, B., & Kalra, S. (2013). Qualitative Research.  Perspectives in Clinical Research, 4(3): 192.

Sanjari, M., Bahramnezhad, F., & Fomani, F et al. (2014). Ethical challenges of researchers in qualitative studies: the necessity to develop a specific guideline. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine. 7: 14. Erin Brockovich Film Analysis Sample


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