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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.

Director, L. (2002). The Value of Relational Psychoanalysis in the Treatment of Chronic Drug and Alcohol Use. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(4):551-579.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(4):551-579

The Value of Relational Psychoanalysis in the Treatment of Chronic Drug and Alcohol Use Related Papers

Lisa Director, Ph.D.

A view of chronic drug use that draws on central assumptions in relational theory is proposed. Namely, chronic substance use is seen as being driven by conflicting and unresolved relational dynamics that derive from the early organizing relationships in a person's life. In the case of the substance user, the terms of this conflict find concrete expression in characteristic acts of drug use that serve to perpetuate it through the combined effects of reinforcement and disguise. The goal of treatment is for patient and therapist to find the components of the relational bind that are embedded in the drug use, to reformulate these forces in symbolic terms, and to revisit them in the dynamics of the transference, alongside opportunities for new exchange. Seen this way, the treatment needs of substance users can best be met by a relational model of psychoanalysis, augmented by other approaches needed to address addiction. In particular, the relational emphasis on the role of enactment as a vehicle for the expression of unsymbolized experience, and therefore the source of the phenomena to be analyzed and understood, makes this model especially well suited to substance-using people.

[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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