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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.

Keiser, S. (1956). The Technique of Supervised Analysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:539-549.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:539-549

The Technique of Supervised Analysis

Sylvan Keiser, M.D.


When I was asked by the Chairman of the Program Committee to organize a panel on some important aspects of training, I selected as our topic "Problems of Supervised Analysis." Not only is there very little written about supervision, but while we all recognize its great importance in our training program, we have never exchanged our ideas about it. A great deal of discussion is carried on in every Education Committee and a sharing of experiences is urgently needed. At the meeting of the International Training Committee in 1936, on the occasion of the Four Countries Conference in Budapest, a discussion of this topic took place and we have a report about it in the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1937, by Edward Bibring. Already at that time the question of supervision by the training analyst and the problems of countertransference were raised and constituted the main point of a paper by Vilma Kovacs, published in the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1936. This was further elaborated by Blitzsten and Fleming in their paper on "What is Supervisory Analysis?" which appeared in the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. They make a distinction between supervision of the therapy of the patient and reserved the term "control analysis" for this procedure, whereas supervised analysis constantly takes the candidate's countertransference into consideration.

Since several members of our panel expressed interest in the problem of countertransference, we have considered the possibility of making it the topic for our panel.

[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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