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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.

Leary, K. (1995). “Interpreting in the Dark” Race and Ethnicity in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Psychol., 12(1):127-140.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 12(1):127-140

Contributions to Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

“Interpreting in the Dark” Race and Ethnicity in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Kimberlyn Leary, Ph.D.

In this article, I discuss the impact of race and ethnicity on the psychotherapeutic process of three patients in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with an African American therapist. The influence of race on the treatment process has been explored infrequently in psychoanalytic writing, despite consensus that it is conceptually and clinically relevant. This outcome stems from the complex web of attitudes attending talk about race in this country. Race and ethnicity remain topics that engender anxiety in social and clinical discourse. I selectively and critically review the psychoanalytic literature on race, which has been hampered by incomplete conceptualizations and overgeneralizations that often limit its clinical utility. I then explore, through clinical examples, the way in which attention directed at racial issues provided a framework for the treatment alliance and illuminated key transferences and resistances for these patients. Discussion of racial issues is most fruitful when racial themes are situated in bodily and social contexts and when the meaning that race has within the therapy dyad is negotiated by patient and therapist, apart from idealized or socially correct conceptualizations from outside of the treatment situation.

[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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