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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.

List of Articles

Volume 3 (1993)

Issue 1
The Hermeneutic Turn: Soft Science or Loyal Opposition?  1
Donald P. Spence, Ph.D.
Loyal Opposition and the Clarity of Dissent: Commentary on Donald P. Spence's “The Hermeneutic Turn”  11
Jerome Bruner, Ph.D.
Centers of Moral Gravity: Commentary on Donald Spence's “The Hermeneutic Turn”  21
Richard Rorty, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis and the Urban Poor  29
Neil Altman, Ph.D.
Ego Psychological and Object Relational Approaches — Is it Either/Or?: Commentary on Neil Altman's “Psychoanalysis and the Urban Poor”  51
Anni Bergman, Ph.D.
The Social Politics of Psychoanalysis Commentary on Neil Altman's: “Psychoanalysis and the Urban Poor”  69
RoseMarie Peréz Foster, Ph.D.
Reply to Bergman and Foster  85
Neil Altman, Ph.D.
Enactments, Transference, and Symptomatic Cure: A Case History  93
Morris Eagle, Ph.D.
Interaction and Interpretation: Commentary on Morris Eagle's “Enactments, Transference, and Symptomatic Cure”  111
Merton M. Gill, M.D.
Insight and Experience: Commentary on Morris Eagle's “Enactments, Transference, and Symptomatic Cure”  123
Theodore J. Jacobs, M.D.
Theory and Change: Commentary on Morris Eagle's “Enactments, Transference, and Symptomatic Cure”  129
Robert B. Shapiro, Ph.D.
Reply to Gill, Jacobs, and Shapiro  139
Morris Eagle, Ph.D.
Learning from the Patient: by Patrick Casement (New York: Guilford Press, xiv + 386 pp., $35.00)  151
Anthony Bass, Ph.D.
Issue 2
Introduction: Hermeneutics and You  169
Steven H. Cooper, Ph.D.
A Relational Model of Inquiry and Truth: The Place of Psychoanalysis in Human Conversation  177
Charles Spezzano, Ph.D.
Transferred Fictions  209
Richard E. Geha, Ph.D.
Psychoanalysis as “Conversation” and as “Fiction”: Commentary on Charles Spezzano's “A Relational Model of Inquiry and Truth” and Richard Geha's “Transferred Fictions”  245
Louis A. Sass, Ph.D.
On the “Mere” Fictions of Psychoanalysis: Reply to Sass  255
Richard E. Geha, Ph.D.
Illusions of Candor: Reply to Sass  267
Charles Spezzano, Ph.D.
Adaptive Sadomasochism and Psychological Growth  279
Michael J. Bader, DMH
Commentary on Michael J. Bader's “Adaptive Sadomasochism and Psychological Growth”  301
Muriel Dimen, Ph.D.
Reply to Dimen  309
Michael J. Bader, DMH
The Intersubjective Approach: Commentary on Michael Tansey's “Psychoanalytic Expertise” (PD, 2[3], 1992)  315
Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D.
Issue 3
Sex, Gender, and the Analyst's Subjectivity  319
Joseph Newirth, Ph.D.
The Patient's Transference Experience of the Analyst's Gender: Projection, Factuality, Interpretation, or Construction  323
Ruth Gruenthal, MMS
Countertransference Enactments and Some Issues Related to External Factors in the Analyst's Life  343
Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.
Life Used To Be So Easy: Commentary on Papers by Gruenthal and Hirsch  367
Alan Kindler, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P.(C)
Gender-Role Stereotypes and Clinical Process: Commentary on Papers by Gruenthal and Hirsch  371
Sue A. Shapiro, Ph.D.
Reply to Commentaries by Kindler and Shapiro  389
Ruth Gruenthal, MSS
Reply to Commentaries by Kindler and Shapiro  395
Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.
An Interview with Christopher Bollas  401
Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis: An Integration by Stephen A. Mitchell: (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988, ix + 306 pp., $25.00)  431
Janet Lee Bachant, Ph.D. and Arnold David Richards, M.D.
Reply to Bachant and Richards  461
Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Issue 4
Resentment, Indignation, Entitlement The Transformation of Unconscious Wish into Need  481
Peter Shabad, Ph.D.
Wish, Need, and Neediness: Commentary on Shabad's “Resentment, Indignation, Entitlement”  495
Emmanuel Ghent, M.D.
A Self-Psychological Perspective on Shabad's “Resentment, Indignation, Entitlement”  509
Frank M. Lachmann, Ph.D.
The Essential Invisibility of Trauma and the Need for Repetition: Commentary on Shabad's “Resentment, Indignation, Entitlement”  515
Paul L. Russell, M.D.
Paradox and the Repetitive Search for the Real: Reply to Ghent, Lachmann, and Russell  523
Peter Shabad, Ph.D.
Action, Insight, and Working Through Outlines of an Integrative Approach  535
Kenneth A. Frank, Ph.D.
Commentary on Frank's “Action, Insight, and Working Through” from the Perspective of Freudian Analysis  579
Elliot Adler, Ph.D.
Active Intervention, Psychic Structure, and the Analysis of Transference: Commentary on Frank's “Action, Insight, and Working Through”  589
Paul L. Wachtel, Ph.D.
Diverse Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Participation: Reply to Adler and Wachtel  605
Kenneth A. Frank, Ph.D.
Commentaries on Trop and Stolorow: Introduction  623
Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D.
Homophobia in Psychoanalytic Writing and Practice: Commentary on Trop and Stolorow's “Defense Analysis in Self Psychology: A Developmental View” and Hanna's “False-Self Sensitivity to Countertransference: Anatomy of a Single Session”  627
Mark J. Blechner, Ph.D.
A Reconsideration of Homosexual Themes: Commentary on Trop and Stolorow's “Defense Analysis in Self Psychology”  639
Ronnie C. Lesser, Ph.D.
Heterophilia — The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Aim: Commentary on Trop and Stolorow's “Defense Analysis in Self Psychology: A Developmental View”  643
David Schwartz, Ph.D.
Reply to Blechner, Lesser, and Schwartz  653
Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. and Jeffrey L. Trop, M.D.
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