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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.

Mucci, C. (2017). Ferenczi's Revolutionary Therapeutic Approach. Am. J. Psychoanal., 77(3):239-254.

(2017). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 77(3):239-254

Ferenczi's Revolutionary Therapeutic Approach

Clara Mucci, Ph.D.

Many of the revolutionary principles introduced by Ferenczi in his clinical practice have now been widely accepted especially in the field of trauma and trauma therapy. Examples of these innovative views include his emphasis on empathy as opposed to technical neutrality and his stress on the real conditions of child caring and family environmental deficits and on the consequences of interpersonal violence and abuse that lead to “identification with the aggressor” by the victim thereby resulting in the internalization of both aggressiveness and guilt (the split guilt of the abuser). The resulting “fragmentation” of the personality, which is now considered dissociation (instead of Freud's “repression”), is at the root of several severe disorders, characterized by distortion of reality, loss of touch with one's body and loss of trust in the other. Therefore “abreaction is not enough”. A new, positive relational experience must be re-inscribed at the level of implicit memory.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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