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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.

Aveline, M. (1990). R.D. Hinshelwood, What Happens in Groups. Free Association Books, 1987, 278 pages, £27.50 hb, £9.95 pb. Free Associations, 1T(19):148-151.

(1990). Free Associations, 1T(19):148-151

R.D. Hinshelwood, What Happens in Groups. Free Association Books, 1987, 278 pages, £27.50 hb, £9.95 pb

Review by:
Mark Aveline

In order of social complexity, psychoanalysis and the therapeutic community stand at either end of the range of constructed therapy settings, with small-group therapy in the middle; the ends are distinguished by diversity of form and increasing unpredictability of culture which varies directly with the number of participants. Psychoanalysis provides therapists with insights into the hidden depths of individual minds, whence storms break to the surface in the form of symptoms and disturbed relationships. This individual, inner focus is both a strength and a weakness of the approach. Most group therapists look beyond the single mind and take as their perspective the individual in relationship to others; and, in an analogous way to individual therapy, analytically informed group therapists look to understand the unconscious processes that move the group as a whole. The therapeutic community provides the greatest scope for the free expression of the psychopathologies of its members, both patients and staff, and their confrontation.

The groups of the title ‘What Happens in Groups’ are not those of the small group but those of the therapeutic community. Hinshelwood's aim is to illuminate the processes of the therapeutic community. The examples given arose out of his experience of working at the Marlborough Day Hospital in the 1960s. His analytic perspective is Kleinian.

As the book progresses, layer upon layer of cognitive complexity is added. The six parts deal with the raw experience of group life, the community of the individual's inner world, the processes which lead to despair, idealization and high and low morale, ways in which the organization may be neurotic, how the community may act as a container and be therapeutic and, finally, a cross-fertilization of these ideas into small-group therapy.

At the outset, the reader is confronted with the acute discomfort commonly experienced by patients and staff in the therapeutic community. This discomfort may indicate actual futility or a sense of futility, but with the potential for change; it may be dealt with defensively by explaining away what has happened or blaming the system and individuals or, positively, by understanding, interpreting and working through.

[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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