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Tip: Understanding Rank

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you do a search, you can sort the results bibliographically alphabetical or by “rank”. What is Rank?

Rank refers to the search engine’s “best guess” as to the relevance of the result to the search you specified. The exact method of ranking used varies a bit depending on the search. In its most basic level, when you specify a single search term, rank looks at the density of the matches for the word in the document, and how close to the beginning of the document they appear as a measure of importance to the paper’s topic. The documents with the most matches and where the term is deemed to have the most importance, have the highest “relevance” and are ranked first (presented first).

When you specify more than one term to appear anywhere in the article, the method is similar, but the search engine looks at how many of those terms appear, and how close together they appear, how close to the beginning of the document, and can even take into account the relative rarity of the search terms and their density in the retrieved file, where infrequent terms count more heavily than common terms.

To see a simple example of this, search for the words (not the phrase, so no quotes):

unconscious communications

Look at the density of matches in each document on the first page of the hits. Then go to the last page of matched documents, and observe the density of matches within the documents.

A more complex search illustrates this nicely with a single page and only 15 matches:

counter*tr* w/25 “liv* out” w/25 enact*

There are a lot of word forms and variants of the words (due to the * wildcards) above that can match, but the proximity (w/25) clause limits the potential for matching. What’s interesting here though is how easily you can see the match density decrease as you view down the short list.

The end result of selecting order by rank is that the search engine’s best “guess” as to which articles are more relevant appear higher on the list than less relevant articles.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Moffic, H.S. (1981). Therapist Anonymity in Rural Areas. Am. J. Psychoanal., 41(1):85-89.

(1981). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 41(1):85-89

Therapist Anonymity in Rural Areas

H. Steven Moffic, M.D.

The therapist as a neutral and basically anonymous person to the patient seems to be a basic stance or even role in the development of individual psychoanalytic psychology. Approaching anonymity seems to be useful both in understanding the patient's previous relationship with important early figures as they are expressed in the transference with the therapist and in helping the therapist with the countertransference struggle to gratify the needs of the patient.

The large cities, such as Vienna and New York, where much of the major work on psychoanalytic psychotherapy has been developed, may have permitted such techniques to flourish by allowing an isolated patient-therapist contact. In an environment, however, where extratherapeutic social contact between patient and therapist may be virtually unavoidable or at least quite likely, possible influences on the usual psychotherapeutic relationship must be recognized.

Such an environment is that of the small community in rural areas. Although the effect of the rural environment on other areas of service delivery has been studied, the size and nature of the surrounding community as a relevant variable in psychotherapy has been virtually neglected. Concerns of and ideas for this paper relate to being one of the only therapists conducting psychoanalytic psychotherapy in both a small town of about 30,000 people and its nearby military community of less than 10,000 in rural Alabama.

Alterations in Therapeutic Anonymity

One consequence of the small town is the marked increase of inadvertent social contacts between therapist and patient. This necessitates a significant change in the type and frequency of unplanned self-exposure of the therapist. Repercussions of this frequent loss of anonymity with typical patients from the rural community are indicated in the following cases.

Case 1.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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