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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.

Pine, F. (1976). On Therapeutic Change: Perspectives from a Parent-Child Model. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 5:537-569.

(1976). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 5:537-569

On Therapeutic Change: Perspectives from a Parent-Child Model

Fred Pine, Ph.D.

Freud's early faith in the value of catharsis (Breuer and Freud, 1893-1895) as a mechanism of therapeutic change gave way to emphasis on insight and working through (Freud, 1914), processes that require considerable cognitive effort, the achievement of affective conviction, and repeated relearning, reconviction, and testing over time. Though these processes are in the foreground of those through which change is achieved in psychoanalysis, other processes are also present in the background. In this paper I shall deal with some of those background factors. Interestingly, when we turn beyond classical psychoanalytic treatment to work with more seriously ill patients with deficient ego functioning, many of those background factors come into the foreground as instruments of change.

Drawing from a parent-child model, I shall address aspects of the facilitation of development as these apply to issues of therapeutic change. Specifically, the role of identification with and other internalizations from the analyst/therapist is discussed, as is the role of safety (in the therapy and in the parent-child relationship) that permits change or development, respectively, to take place (Sandler, 1960). Since it seems unlikely that developmental processes that have not taken place earlier can always take place in the context of therapy, issues of reversibility of psychopathology, and of critical periods as well, are inevitably raised.

[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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