I would like to describe a process (not a person) as being critical. For example, for a process that undergoes criticism, correction and scrutinization such as auditing and inspection. I found the word critical would fit in the context, but saying "a critical process" may be mistaken to be "a crucial or important process". How can I structure or add to the phrase to avoid that? Or is there a better word to use?

  • You could always just look up the word in a thesaurus. This yields, at least, evaluative, analytical, interpretative, expository, and explanatory. Voting to close as general reference. – Robusto Jan 16 '12 at 3:27
  • I think the closevotes are peremptory. The only term I can think of to suit what OP is looking for is a peer review process, but that obviously carries all the implications of peer. Simply calling it a review process seems inadequate, and no words derived from criticise are likely to suit either. – FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 3:52
  • If 'criminal justice' is fine, why not a 'critical process'? – Kris Jan 16 '12 at 9:12
  • I agree with FumbleFingers that peer review process is what comes to mind. If there's a problem with peer, could you use "revision process" and the criticism would be implied? – Julia Jan 18 '12 at 4:23

One alternative is to use a prepositional phrase rather than the adjective (since the adjective's meaning can be confused), as in: The design then undergoes a process of criticism.

  • It's not an adjective, so I won't actually upvote (yet - but maybe if nothing better comes along). At least it has the advantage of being accurate and unambiguous. – FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 4:48
  • @FumbleFingers: Umm, critical seems to be listed as an adjective in all the dictionaries I've looked at. – mgkrebbs Jan 16 '12 at 5:10
  • OP asked for an adjective ("I would like to describe") that he can apply to the noun "process". You somewhat deftly get round that issue by introducing the concept that part of that process is "the design", which you then have "undergo a process of criticism". As I understand it, what we're really looking for is something like "this is an xxxxx process", where "xxxxx" is an adjective that means "characterised by including review/criticism/correction elements in the methodology". – FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 5:30
  • ...and as OP himself realises, he certainly can't say "this is a critical process". – FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 5:32
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    OP asked "How can I structure or add to the phrase to avoid" the confusion, or for "a better word to use". The latter might need to be an adjective, but the former wouldn't. (And "I would like to describe" doesn't exclude all forms of expression other than adjectives in my view.) So in place of "this is a critical process" my answer is suggesting "this is a process of criticism", which I still see as a reasonable way to "structure the phrase" as OP was requesting. – mgkrebbs Jan 16 '12 at 7:50

I think the word you are looking for is criticizing, as in a criticizing process.

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