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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.

Zaslavsky, J. Nunes, M.L. Eizirik, C.L. (2005). Approaching countertransference in psychoanalytical supervision: A qualitative investigation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(4):1099-1131.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(4):1099-1131

Approaching countertransference in psychoanalytical supervision: A qualitative investigation Language Translation

Jacó Zaslavsky , Maria Lúcia Tiellet Nunes and Cláudio Laks Eizirik

A recent examination of the literature concerning countertransference and its developments reveals its clinical usefulness in different psychoanalytical cultures. Nevertheless, a shortage of publications is apparent with respect to its approach in supervision. The authors' aim in this study was to examine the concepts of transference and countertransference and how countertransference is approached in supervision, in the training of candidates, at an institute of psychoanalysis belonging to a society affiliated to the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). Qualitative research was carried out, interviewing supervisors and supervisees. Through analysis of the material acquired, the authors classified the data into initial, intermediate and final categories. The principal findings were subdivided into three categories: the concepts of transference and countertransference, psychoanalytical listening and the complementarity of the phenomena, and the approach to countertransference. The concepts of transference and countertransference predominantly used by those interviewed are based on the totalistic outlook. Countertransference in supervision has been approached in a more direct and objective way when compared with the previous period, although great care is taken to delimit the boundaries between supervision and personal analysis. The main aim of supervision is to broaden comprehension and to deepen the interpretations directed towards the patient. These findings suggest that the evolution of the concept of countertransference in different psychoanalytical cultures and developments in the analytical field are contributing to this change.

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