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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.

Sinason, M. Richards, J. (2014). The Internal Cohabitation Model. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(3):314-327.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(3):314-327

The Internal Cohabitation Model

Michael Sinason, FRCPsych and Joscelyn Richards, C Psychol, AFBPsS, FMBPA

This paper presents the reasons for viewing the conflicts of inner mental life as arising from the problematic interaction of two different selves. A self that is involved in interpersonal relationships can be seen to be contending with a coexisting self who has a hatred of dependency on others. When the self that idealises independence is dominating the inner world, any means will be used to achieve the desired ends, regardless of the consequences for anyone. The paper makes links with the work of neuropsychiatrists such as McGilchrist and to the contributions of Bion, Britton, Winnicott and other analysts who have recognized the existence of different selves in the inner world. An analytic session is presented to illustrate the process of mapping out of ‘who is doing what to whom’ in the clinical interaction. We argue that transference misattributions can be better understood by recognizing the differences between the two selves internally. This detailed differentiation can then assist the patient to reduce the likelihood of internal takeovers both in the analytic setting and in other relationships.

[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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