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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.

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Faccini, F. Gazzillo, F. Gorman, B.S. (2020). Guilt, Shame, Empathy, Self-Esteem, and Traumas: New Data for the Validation of the Interpersonal Guilt Rating Scale-15 Self-Report (IGRS-15s). Psychodyn. Psych., 48(1):79-100.

(2020). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 48(1):79-100

Guilt, Shame, Empathy, Self-Esteem, and Traumas: New Data for the Validation of the Interpersonal Guilt Rating Scale-15 Self-Report (IGRS-15s)

Filippo Faccini, Ph.D., Francesco Gazzillo, Ph.D. and Bernard S. Gorman, Ph.D.

The aim of this paper is to present further data for the validation of the Interpersonal Guilt Rating Scale-15 self-report (IGRS-15s; Gazzillo et al., 2018). We recruited a sample of 448 subjects, to whom we administered the IGRS-15s together with other empirically validated measures for the assessment of social desirability, shame, self-esteem, empathy, mental health and therapeutic alliance. In line with our hypotheses, the previously established three-factor structure of the IGRS-15s (Survivor guilt, Omnipotence guilt, and Self-hate) was confirmed. Moreover, the internal consistency and test-retest reliability of IGRS-15s were adequate to good. All the IGRS-15s factors were negatively correlated with self-esteem and mental health and positively correlated with shame; Survivor guilt and Omnipotence guilt were positively correlated with empathy; Survivor guilt and Self-hate negatively affected therapeutic alliance; and different traumas had different, theoretically predictable, impacts on the different kinds of guilt. Overall, these data support the reliability and validity of the IGRS-15s.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2017 and more current articles see the publishers official website.]

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