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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.

Vaglum, S. Haga, E. Vaglum, P. (1994). Interviewing the analysand's partner before the analysis begins: rationale and procedure. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 17(1):59-71.

(1994). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 17(1):59-71

Interviewing the analysand's partner before the analysis begins: rationale and procedure

Sonja Vaglum, M.D.,, Eivind Haga, M.D., and Per Vaglum, M.D.

It is a well-established fact that psychoanalysis may influence the patient's partner relationship and that the partner may have an impact on the process of the analysis Freud, 1919; Rosen, 1956; Gottschalk & Whitman, 1962; Thomä & Thomä, 1968; Sager, 1968; Neuman, 1987; Sander, 1989). The source of marital problems during psychoanalysis not only stems from the personality changes that may occur in the analysand during the analysis and the adaptation to a “new” partner which the spouse has to manage. Marital friction, may also be due to the special behaviour of a partner who, four times a week, goes to a therapist and keeps silent about what is going on. A further source for trouble may be the partner's reaction to the fact that the analysand is now entering into an intimate relationship with a stranger. The impact of the analysis on the partner relationship and vice versa may therefore start at the very beginning of the analysis. The authors remember well their own experiences from the initial phase of their analyses.

The first author was back in the late sixties herself the young spouse of the third author who had just started his training analysis. She was in a phase of life in which she felt insecure as a wife, as a new mother, and as an inexperienced physician, and thus the security of the marital relationship was very important. What would happen to their new marital closeness when the spouse suddenly confided to someone else? She did not share these fears with anyone. The second author who started his personal analysis at the same time, was then a father of two daughters and had a pregnant wife.

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