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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.

Sandler, J. (1949). Projective Techniques, a Dynamic Approach to the Study of Personality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:209-210.

(1949). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 30:209-210

Projective Techniques, a Dynamic Approach to the Study of Personality

Review by:
Joseph Sandler

By John Elderkin Bell. (New York: Longmans Green & Co., Inc.)

The Clinical Application of Psychological Tests. By Roy Schafter. Menninger Foundation Monograph Series No. 6. (New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1948.)

The Thematic Apperception Test. An Introductory Manual for its Clinical Use with Adult Males. By Morris I. Stein. (Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Press, Inc., 1948.)

Each of these three books is designed primarily as a handbook for the clinical psychologist who is concerned with diagnostic psychological testing. All deal with projection techniques, although Schafer's work includes a discussion of a few non-projective tests.

Bell's book is a useful contribution to the literature on projective techniques. He interprets the term projection in a much wider sense than Freud, and is thus able to assemble the most diverse collection of methods in one volume. Part I deals with word-association, the Incomplete Sentences Test, the Tautophone Test, story-telling and completion. Part II is concerned with the Rorschach Test, Cloud Pictures, the Thematic Apperception Test, the Rosenzweig Picture Frustration Test, the Szondi Test, and a number of other picture methods. Part III deals with expressive movement and related techniques, including handwriting, the Mira Myokinetic Diagnosis, visual-motor tests, artistic expression of various sorts, finger painting, completing pictures, Lowenfeld's Mosaic Test, and voice and speech studies. Finally, in Part IV, there is a description of Play as a projective method, and an account of the World Test and Psychodrama.

[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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