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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.

Drubach, D. McAlaster, R. Hartman, P. (1994). The Use of a Psychoanalytic Framework in the Rehabilitation of Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(3):255-263.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(3):255-263

The Use of a Psychoanalytic Framework in the Rehabilitation of Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury

Daniel Drubach, M.D., Rebecca McAlaster, Ph.D. and Peter Hartman, M.D.

Traumatic brain injury is one of the most common disorders affecting the central nervous system, with an incidence of 200 per 100,000 population (Kraus, 1987). Survivors of traumatic brain injury often display complex disorders of cognition and behavior that are difficult to quantify or characterize using currently available neuropsychological tools and/or psychiatric diagnostic terminology. We feel that psychoanalytic theory provides an excellent framework for describing, conceptualizing, and understanding many aspects of the post-traumatic syndrome. Also, the integration of psychoanalytic concepts in the rehabilitation process provides an extremely useful tool in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from cognitive and behavioral sequelae of traumatic brain injury. Third, correlating the disordered psychological function with the neuropathological changes commonly encountered in patients with closed traumatic brain injury (CTBI) provides a unique opportunity to contribute to the literature aspiring to affirm the biological substrate to mental processes described by psychoanalytic theory. Finally, examining the behavioral correlates of traumatic brain injury can help us to validate or refute certain aspects of the psychoanalytic theory.

A brief review of the neuropathology and pathophysiology of CTBI can help us to better understand the behavioral disorders encountered in this population. Neuropathological changes in patients with closed head injury differ from those found in patients with penetrating head trauma. In the latter, an object such as a bullet, blunt object, or bone fragment penetrates the subarachnoid space and strikes and/or penetrates the surface of the brain.

[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.]

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