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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.

Marquier, M. (2001). Trauma and Adolescence, edited by Max Sugar, M.D., International Universities Press, Inc., 1999, 344 ps.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 61(1):101-102.

(2001). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 61(1):101-102

Trauma and Adolescence, edited by Max Sugar, M.D., International Universities Press, Inc., 1999, 344 ps.

Review by:
Megan Marquier, Ph.D.

Trauma and Adolescence is the first of a monograph series by the International Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, focusing on specific adolescent-related issues. Edited by Max Sugar, this volume contains works by multinational authors, including S. Rubin, Carbone and Spano, Liakopoulou, Garbarino, Honig et al., and two chapters by Max Sugar himself. Divided into three sections, including Psychoanalytic Aspects of Trauma, Physical and Psychosomatic Illness and Social Disruption on adolescents, the intent of this volume is “to illuminate special areas needing further attention.”

The content and style of the various works range from in-depth case studies, as in Rubin's chapter on “Psychoanalytic Perspectives,” to brief vignette and theoretical discussions (e.g., Pucheu, Antonelli & Consoli and Sugar), to quantitative studies (e.g., Stuber & Kazak and Honig et al.). Some works (e.g., Garbarino) take a more sociophilosophical perspective, theorizing on the cumulative effects of children living with violence, and posit the benefits of appropriate parental interventions. Despite the volume's stated intent to illuminate areas in need of further exploration, there is no introduction or summary that integrates the material or suggests areas for further or deeper exploration. Instead, Sugar includes papers representing the range of multinational work focusing on trauma and lets the works stand for themselves.

Another interesting issue, especially given the varying theoretical and culture backgrounds of the various authors, is that there is no consistent definition of “trauma.” Several authors clearly define their work in terms of one-body or two-body psychologies and give short overviews of the literature on trauma, some beginning with Freud's evolving ideas on the topic. Other authors choose not to define trauma but instead focus on the impact of social disruptions on adolescents' subsequent functioning. These latter chapters tend to describe natural or manmade disasters themselves and focus on the global effects on survivors.

Psychoanalytically oriented readers will be drawn to the opening three chapters of the volume.

[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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