Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
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.

Niemira, J.C. (2011). Interview with Michael Eigen. Psychoanal. Perspect., 8(2):259-270.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 8(2):259-270

Interview with Michael Eigen

Jan C. Niemira, LCSW

Jan Niemira: Should we just jump in?

Michael Eigen: Yes.

JN: First, tell me about your training experience. Where did you train? What do you recall as most valuable about your training experience? Do you remember learning something that struck you as particularly important? Did anything strike you as unimportant? And is there anything you've had to unlearn?

ME: My training experience was a series of experiences. I began as a therapist for autistic and schizophrenic children at Blueberry; I worked at Reiss School, First Street School. I took the advanced courses at the Modern Psychoanalytic Institute and eventually joined NPAP. What was most valuable about my training experience was being left alone to do what came out of me to do with patients. When I wasn't interfered with too much, I could learn how to be with people.

I should mention New Hope Guild, which was very important. Not only did it give me a chance to become myself, but I met my wife there! By accident one day! Every week the head of the clinic, Sherman Schachter, had clinical meetings with the staff. These weekly meetings on clinical issues were important for many reasons. For one thing, it gave us all a chance to hear something about what other therapists were doing. It gave us a chance to exchange feedback in an open atmosphere. I learned a lot from these meetings, especially about complexities of dependence. The atmosphere was one of being devoted to the patient, supporting the therapist/patient relationship.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.