This book portrays how participatory inquiry in a critical hermeneutic tradition moves the research process for social scientists from an epistemological place to an ontological event. Part One offers a critique of the technical, intellectual, and advocacy research enterprises and provides the reader a segue to a philosophical and historical discussion of critical hermeneutics. The discussion, in Part Two, lays the foundation for an ontologically-based field research protocol. In Part Three, the questions of research topic, research categories, questions and conversations, selection of participants, entree, background of researcher, data collection and analysis, and learning and community are discussed from a theoretical and applied perspective with examples drawn from selected field projects. This book draws on works by Ricoeur, Gadamer, Habermas, R. Bernstein and C.A. Bowers. The research conversation based in the notion of "play" marks the researcher and research participants as co-progenitors of the data which when transcribed becomes a text for analysis. This text has the possibility of opening reconfigured worlds in our organizations and communities. The notions of text, narrative, and mimesis are explicated in terms of data analysis with implications for action and social policy. An ontological understanding of language is at the heart of participatory inquiry in a critical hermeneutic tradition. It is through this understanding that we are endowed with the responsibility for creating just institutions.