A term used in linguistics referring to a particular way of arriving at a linguistic analysis or decision. Different views about the goals of a linguistic theory can be clarified by phrasing the question in terms of procedures, of which three types have attracted particular interest, since their first formulation by Noam Chomsky (see Chomskyan):
(a) discovery procedure: a technique which can be automatically or ‘mechanically’ applied to a sample of language and which would produce a correct analysis.
(b) decision procedure: a technique which could be automatically applied to a series of grammars of a language, to decide which was the best grammar.
(c) evaluation procedure: a technique which provides criteria for choosing the better of two analyses of a set of data, as when it is argued that one analysis is simpler, more plausible or more elegant than another.