Pathways-reduced analysis is one of the techniques used by the FISPACT-II nuclear activation and transmutation software to study the sensitivity of the computed inventories to uncertainties in reaction cross sections. Although deciding which pathways are most important is very helpful in for example determining which nuclear data would benefit from further refinement, pathways-reduced analysis need not necessarily define the most critical reaction, since one reaction may contribute to several different pathways. This work examines three different techniques for ranking reactions in their order of importance in determining the final inventory, comparing the pathways-based metric (PBM), the direct method, and a method based on the Pearson correlation coefficient. Reasons why the PBM is to be preferred are presented.