CHAPTER XX
SOCIAL DISABILITIES AND THE QUESTIONNAIRE PLAN OF PRESENTATION

WHEN the case worker has gone only a short distance in his preliminary inquiries, or sometimes at a later period, he discovers a certain disability or a combination of disabilities. What are the implications of his discovery? How should it modify his method? By what means can a large number of possible modifications be indicated and made accessible for reference when needed? This, next to the discussion of evidence, has been the most difficult problem with which the present study has had to deal. Our discussion of the methods and points of view common to all social diagnosis is ended, but there remains to be treated this baffling topic of the variations in method demanded by different tasks and by the presence of different disabilities.


I. OBJECTS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRES

1. Their Dangers. In determining to present in questionnaire form most of the material gathered for this final division of the subject, the writer is aware that the device is clumsy and that it has its dangers. The purposes and limitations of these questionnaires are bound to be misunderstood by some who attempt to use them, no matter how clearly it is set forth that none are sets of questions to be asked of clients and that none are schedules the answers to which are to be filled in by anyone. They are merely long lists of queries which, when gone over by the social case worker with a particular case in mind, may bring to his attention, out of the many presented, a possible four or five that may contain suggestive leads.

Leading questions are dangerous things, as already indicated; the questioner, ignorant of the true answer, suggests one nevertheless to the person who is being questioned. Here the case

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