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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.

Durban, J. (2003). On Becoming an Analyst and Becoming a Healer - Dedication, Choice, Training, and Qualification Processes of Healers in Cultures around the World†. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 3(1):83-100.

(2003). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 3(1):83-100

On Becoming an Analyst and Becoming a Healer - Dedication, Choice, Training, and Qualification Processes of Healers in Cultures around the World

Joshua Durban

In this paper I wish to discuss the process of becoming a healer in different cultures and societies around the world. I will try to show how the training process transforms the individual healer. This transformation is achieved through the transmission of powerful cultural symbols regarding illness, suffering, death, and rebirth, from master healer into the disciple. These cultural symbols are socially structured through certain rites and practices which, in turn, are internalized by the disciple as part of his or her evolving professional healing self. This process is based upon identification with the master who embodies the empowered self-object and thus mediates between the cultural demands and the individual who must assimilate them into his or her self by means of projective and introjective identification. The cultural symbols thus also assume a private meaning and cause psychic change, accompanied by both pain and elation. All this is made possible by the inherent capacity of cultural symbols to serve as containers for deeply seated primary anxieties. In this way, a special kind of complementarity is established between the individual healer and the larger socio-cultural context.

As reference material for this discussion, I shall use the vast body of knowledge accumulated in anthropology about these processes and their associated rites and belief systems. I shall try to allow for the broadest perspective possible, in order to avoid excessive focusing on specific illustrations or juicy anecdotes.

[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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