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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.

Wilkinson, S. Hough, G. (1996). Lie as Narrative Truth in Abused Adopted Adolescents. Psychoanal. St. Child, 51:580-596.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 51:580-596

Lie as Narrative Truth in Abused Adopted Adolescents

Sallye Wilkinson, Ph.D. and George Hough, Ph.D.

Two case examples of abused adopted adolescents are discussed to highlight tension within the treatment relationship when the therapist is expected to accept without question a clearly unbelievable story. These examples illustrate how the lies of such youths can function as narrative truth. The unbelievable tales that emerge in the therapeutic work effectively alter the adolescents’ perceptions about the perplexing loss of continuity, both internal and external, that occurred when they were removed from their homes. Characters in the stories represent fragmented self-and object-representations as victim, abuser, rescuer, and passive onlooker. Counterparts to the patient as victim, abuser, rescuer, and passive onlooker can be recognized in the therapist’s subjective responses. If the therapist can use countertransference to inform an understanding of the treatment process, an appreciation emerges that the truth of the lie is in its impact. Decisions about how to intervene can then be crafted. The second separation-individuation intrinsic to adolescent development is understood to provide a ripe opportunity for this working-through process.

[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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