This paper explicates the hermeneutic procedure utilized in the development and interpretation of a questionnaire for consumers with a disability regarding their perspectives on the accessibility and quality of human services they are using. It finds that consumers experience difficulty in bringing into language their critique of existing services. The paper argues the value of a hermeneutic methodology in the social sciences and its usefulness in refining qualitative survey methods designed to explicate the perspectives of those experiencing relative powerlessness in using human services. It seeks, moreover, to establish the complementarity of the hermeneutics of suspicion and those of affirmation.

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