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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.

Greenacre, P. (1975). On Reconstruction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 23:693-712.

(1975). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 23:693-712

On Reconstruction

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D.

MY PRIMARY AIM IN THIS PAPER is to discuss the functions and significance of reconstruction in our psychoanalytic work. I shall attempt to describe the process of reconstruction in the course of psychoanalytic therapy, the principles of its methodology rather than details of technique, something of the process that takes place in the work of reconstruction, and to give some brief clinical illustrations. I will then present my ideas regarding the contribution that careful reconstructive work can make to individual therapy as well as to clinical research, which in turn may gradually influence and expand our psychoanalytic theory. It is especially helpful in bringing to light the impact of disturbances in infancy on later oedipal and postoedipal developments.

The idea of reconstruction seems to me a fundamental one in the practice and theory of psychoanalysis. The terms construction and reconstruction are familiar to most analysts. They appear in the current literature with less frequency, however, than they did 37 years ago, when Freud's article on "Constructions in Analysis" was published (1937). Even then Freud noted that the term "reconstruction" seemed often to be replaced inaccurately by "interpretation." Certainly the two words have different connotations.

[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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