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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 9 (1989)

Issue 1 - Change and Therapeutic Effectiveness in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
Issue Editor: Pietro Castelnuovo-Tedesco, M.D.
Prologue  1
Pietro Castelnuovo-Tedesco, M.D.
Concepts of Therapeutic Effectiveness in Psychoanalysis: A Historical Review  4
Arnold M. Cooper, M.D.
Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and the Problem of Change  26
Volney P. Gay, Ph.D.
Structural and Interstructural Change in Psychoanalytic Treatment  45
Leo Rangell, M.D.
The Psychoanalytic Setting as a Container of Multiple Levels of Reality: A Perspective on the Theory of Psychoanalytic Treatment  67
Arnold H. Modell, M.D.
Therapeutic Change: Perspectives of Self Psychology  88
David M. Terman, M.D.
The Fear of Change and Its Consequences in Analysis and Psychotherapy  101
Pietro Castelnuovo-Tedesco, M.D.
The Idealization of Structural Change  119
David S. Werman, M.D.
The Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis: Strachey Revisited  140
W. W. Meissner, M.D.
Epilogue  160
Pietro Castelnuovo-Tedesco, M.D.
Issue 2 - Methodology in Psychoanalytic Research
Issue Editor: Melvin Bornstein, M.D.
Prologue  165
Melvin Bornstein, M.D.
Introduction The Nature of Psychoanalytic Theory: Implications for Psychoanalytic Research  169
Marshall Edelson, M.D., Ph.D.
A Note on Psychoanalytic Facts  193
W. W. Meissner, M.D.
“Either-Or”: Some Comments on Professor Grünbaum's Critique of Psychoanalysis  220
Léon Wurmser, M.D.
A Reconstruction of Freud's Tally Argument: A Program for Psychoanalytic Research  249
Wilma Bucci, Ph.D.
On Specifying the Scientific Methodology of Psychoanalysis  282
Henry M. Bachrach, Ph.D.
Models, Theory, and Research Strategies: Toward the Evolution of New Paradigms  305
Robert Langs, M.D.
Epilogue  332
Melvin Bornstein, M.D.
Issue 3 - The Developmental Perspective in Psychoanalysis
Issue Editors: Estelle Shane, Ph.D. and Morton Shane, M.D.
Prologue  333
Estelle Shane, Ph.D. and Morton Shane, M.D.
The Sea Worms: A Case of Arrested Development  340
Mary Newsome, M.D.
The Unconscious and Unconscious Fantasy: An Intersubjective-Developmental Perspective  364
Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. and George E. Atwood, Ph.D.
The Interplay of Therapeutic and Developmental Process in the Treatment of Children: An Application of Contemporary Object Relations Theory  375
Calvin F. Settlage, M.D.
On Boundaries and Externalization: Clinical-Developmental Perspectives  397
Gil G. Noam, Ph.D. and Robert G. Kegan, Ph.D.
The Common Core of Paranoia and Depression  427
H. Spencer Bloch, M.D.
The Adolescence of the Creative Writer: Lessons from Eugene O'Neill  450
Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D.
The Struggle for Otherhood: Implications for Development in Adulthood  466
Morton Shane, M.D. and Estelle Shane, Ph.D.
Epilogue  482
Estelle Shane, Ph.D. and Morton Shane, M.D.
Issue 4 - Treatment of the Hospitalized Borderline Patient
Issue Editor: Donald R. Ross, M.D.
Prologue  485
Donald R Ross, M.D.
Velvet Bricks: The Long-Term Inpatient Treatment of a Borderline Patient  487
Susan Kaye Leavitt Pearson, M.D.
Discussion: The Classical Position  517
Jacob A. Arlow, M.D.
Discussion: Self Psychology and Mrs. X.  528
Ernest S. Wolf, M.D.
Discussion from an Object Relations View: A Resilient Fist in a Velvet Glove  539
Clarence G. Schulz, M.D.
Discussion: A Kleinian Perspective  554
Murray Jackson, FRCP, FRCPsych.
Discussion  570
Harold F. Searles, M.D.
Psychoanalytic Theory is a Many-Splendored Thing: A Discussion of the Discussions  586
Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D.
Epilogue  604
Donald R. Ross, M.D.
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