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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.

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Results 1 - 30 of 35 for your search on "Parsons, Michael":

Parsons, M. (2000). Detail of Figure 4. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):51. […]
Parsons, M. (2000). Le DejéAuner sur l'Herbe. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):50. […]
Parsons, M. (2000). The Judgement of Paris (engraving after lost drawing by Raphael). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):51. […]
Parsons, M. (2000). Table Piece Y-98, Dejeuner sur l'Herbe II. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):50. […]
Parsons, M. (2008). On: Raiding the Inarticulate: The internal Analytic Setting and Listening Beyond Countertransference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(3):662-662. […]
Parsons, M. (1986). ‘Depression and creativity’ by André Haynal. New York: Int. Univ. Press. Pp. xxxv + 271. $30.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 2(2):188-189. […]
Parsons, M. (1988). The Shadow of the Object Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known by Christopher Bollas. Published by Free Association Books: London 1987; 293 pages; £25 hardback; £9.95 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(1):129-130. […]
Parsons, M. (2013). Analytikův protipřenos vůči psychoanalytickému procesu. Rev. psychoanal. psychoter., 15(2):80-93. […]
Parsons, M. (2013). Sexualité et perversion quelques cent années plus tard. Sur les traces des découvertes de Freud. Rev. fr. psychanal., 77(2):535-554. […]
Parsons, M. (2006). Le contre-transfert de l'analyste sur le processus psychanalytique. Rev. fr. psychanal., 70(2):385-404. […]
Parsons, M. (2003). Se défaire de la culpabilité. Rev. fr. psychanal., 67(5):1619-1622. […]
Parsons, M. (2014). Zur Ehrenrettung des Unheimlichen. Psyche – Z Psychoanal., 68(5):419-437. […]
Parsons, M. (1988). Forty-Two Lives in Treatment: A Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy by Robert S. Wallerstein. Pp 784. £39. Guilford.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 3(2):181-183. […]
Parsons, M. (2009). Becoming and Being an Analyst in the British Psychoanalytical Society. Psychoanal. Inq., 29(3):236-246. […]
Parsons, M. (2009). Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(3):259-266. […]
Parsons, M. (2009). An Independent Theory of Clinical Technique. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(3):221-236. […]
Parsons, M. (2006). Psychische Veränderung, Heilung und der Einriß zwischen Ich und Realität. Jahrb. Psychoanal., 53:73-90. […]
Parsons, M. (1990). Marion Milner's 'Answering Activity' and the Question of Psychoanalytic Creativity. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 17:413-424. […]
Parsons, M. (1985). Psychoanalysis as Vocation and Martial Art. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 12:363-364. […]
Parsons, M. (1984). Psychoanalysis as Vocation and Martial Art. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:453-462. […]
Parsons, M. (2007). Raiding the Inarticulate: The Internal Analytic Setting and Listening Beyond Countertransference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88(6):1441-1456. […]
Parsons, M. (2006). The Analyst's Countertransference to the Psychoanalytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(5):1183-1198. […]
Parsons, M. (2003). Dictionnaire international de la psychanalyse [International dictionary of psychanalysis] Edited by Alain de Mijolla. Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Pp. 2017. lst edn. 2002.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 84(2):472-474. […]
Parsons, M. (2001). Marion Milner 1900-1998. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(3):609-611. […]
Parsons, M. (2000). Sexuality And Perversion A Hundred Years On: Discovering What Freud Discovered. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(1):37-49. […]
Parsons, M. (1999). The Logic of Play in Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(5):871-884. […]
Parsons, M. (1996). Recent Work By Andre Green: Un psychanalyste engagé: conversations avec Manuel Macias. By André Green. Calmann-Lévy. 1994. Pp. 232.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:399-406. […]
Parsons, M. (1995). Hans Keller: Essays on Music. : Edited by Christopher Wintle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994. Pp. 269.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:629-630. […]
Parsons, M. (1993). Writer's Block: By Zachary Leader. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1991. Pp. 324.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:211-213. […]
Parsons, M. (1992). The Refinding of Theory in Clinical Practice. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:103-115. […]
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