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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 38 (2021)

Issue 1
The Adaptive Function of Fantasy: A Proposal from the Perspective of Control-Mastery Theory  1
Martina Rodomonti, Ph.D., Francesco Fedeli, PSYD, Emma De Luca, Ph.D., Francesco Gazzillo, Ph.D. and Marshall Bush, Ph.D.
E-Mail Notification of Your Latest Issue Online!  11
Borderline Patients before and after One Year of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP): A Detailed Analysis of Change of Attachment Representations  12
Anna Tmej, M.A., Melitta Fischer-Kern, M.D., Stephan Doering, M.D., Michael Rentrop, M.D., Susanne Hörz-Sagstetter, Ph.D. and Anna Buchheim, Ph.D.
Therapeutic Practices in Relational Psychoanalysis: A Qualitative Study  22
Roy E. Barsness, Ph.D.
A Bridge between Person-Based versus Symptom-Based Nosology: A Clinical Case Study Using the Psychodiagnostic Chart-2  31
Eleonora Patriarca, MPSYC, Emanuela Brusadelli, Ph.D. and Brin F. S. Grenyer, Ph.D.
Studying Self-Fragmentation from Kohut's Self Psychology Perspective: Development and Validation of the Fragmented Self Inventory  39
Osnat Schwartz Stav, Ph.D., Mario Mikulincer, Ph.D. and Ruth Sharabany, Ph.D.
A New Instrument to Assess Counterdependency, Evaluated in the Context of Postpartum Depression  49
Lawrence D. Blum, M.D., Matthew M. Carper, Ph.D., Jonah N. Cohen, Ph.D., Arielle Horenstein, M.A., Jonathan P. Stange, Ph.D., Andrea Doyle, LCSW, Ph.D. and Vernon Smith, Ph.D.
Predicting the Working Alliance over the Course of Long-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with the Rorschach Ego Impairment Index, Self-Reported Defense Style, and Performance-Based Intelligence: An Evaluation of Three Methodological Approaches  58
Jaakko Stenius, M.A., Erkki Heinonen, Ph.D., Risto Antikainen, Ph.D., Paul Knekt, Ph.D., Juha Holma, Ph.D. and Olavi Lindfors, Ph.D.
Countertransference as a Reflection of the Patient's Inner Relationship Conflict  68
Maayan Abargil, Ph.D. and Orya Tishby, Ph.D.
Book Reviews
Minding Emotions: Cultivating Mentalization in Psychotherapy, by Elliot Jurist, New York, NY: Guilford, 2018, xv + 200 pp., $30.00  79
John S. Auerbach, Ph.D.
The Psychoanalytic Ear and the Sociological Eye: Toward an American Independent Tradition, by Nancy J. Chodorow, London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2020, 290 pp., $44.95  88
Seymour Moscovitz, Ph.D.
Warmed by the Fires: Selected Papers of Allan Frosch, by Joseph A. Cancelmo, Batya R. Monder, and Hattie B. Myers (Eds.), Queens, NY: International Psychoanalytic Books, 2019, 360 pp., $35.00  91
Alan P. Spivak, Ph.D.
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