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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.

(1960). Psychiatry. XXII, 1959: The Vocabulary of Emotion. A Study of Javanese Socialization Practices. Hildred Geertz. Pp. 225-237.. Psychoanal Q., 29:293-294.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychiatry. XXII, 1959: The Vocabulary of Emotion. A Study of Javanese Socialization Practices. Hildred Geertz. Pp. 225-237.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:293-294

Psychiatry. XXII, 1959: The Vocabulary of Emotion. A Study of Javanese Socialization Practices. Hildred Geertz. Pp. 225-237.

Specific child-rearing practices with their appropriate verbal and nonverbal concomitants seem to assure the maintenance (internalization, in the case of

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the individual child) of Javanese cultural desiderata regarding status and respect. Interaction outside and inside the home is characterized by patterns of exaggerated formal behavior governed by status hierarchies. The father has the highest status in the family; he is addressed only by circumlocutions; in many families he eats alone, receiving the best food while the other members of the family wait. Until he is weaned and able to walk the infant is handled almost exclusively by his mother and other females in what we would call an overprotective, overindulgent manner, so that he is spared frustration. The infant's every wish is anticipated and he is expected to have no initiative of his own. A Javanese baby misses the crawling stage completely; he is carried about and otherwise physically supported until he can walk. Then he begins to explore his environment, but his formal indoctrination begins at the same time with repeated detailed unemotional instructions and directives, where he should go to do what, what he should say, etc. Threats are used of horrible fates at the hands of outsiders or spirits if the child is bad, but not by members of the family. Actual punishment by parents is rare. The child learns early to trust his mother and immediate family completely, and to fear those in the outside world. Gradually, as the child matures and becomes more independent, the actual fear is succeeded by an acute vigilance masked by a superficially poised, relaxed manner and exaggerated formality in personal relations. There are many other observations of great interest to psychoanalysts, particularly those concerning the unique changing role of the father in child rearing.

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Article Citation

(1960). Psychiatry. XXII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:293-294

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