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.

Harris, M. (1976). Chapter Seven: Infantile Elements and Adult Strivings in Adolescent Sexuality. Adolescence: Talks and Papers by Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris, 81-101.

Harris, M. (1976). Chapter Seven: Infantile Elements and Adult Strivings in Adolescent Sexuality. Adolescence: Talks and Papers by Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris , 81-101

Chapter Seven: Infantile Elements and Adult Strivings in Adolescent Sexuality Book Information Previous Up Next

Martha Harris

When I first came to write this paper I soon realized that its focus would have to be a much narrower one than the title allows. I also found that I was returning over and over again to analytic material from a fairly wide range of gifted adolescents who, as the world goes, were more than usually fortunate in their external circumstances: young people who from any external point of view might seem to have everything in their favour but who nevertheless seemed quite unable to enjoy their good fortune.

In all of them there existed a deep sense of unworthiness together with the quite opposite conviction of being special. There was evidence to suggest that they were regarded by one or both of their parents as special, and that they expected this treatment from the rest of the world although when it was forthcoming they could not use it to assuage their discontent.

[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 © 2019, 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.