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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.

Schlessinger, N. Robbins, F. (1974). Assessment and Follow-Up in Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:542-567.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:542-567

Assessment and Follow-Up in Psychoanalysis

Nathan Schlessinger, M.D. and Fred Robbins, M.D.

SUMMARY

A method of study is proposed for the assessment and follow-up of psychoanalytic treatment. In each case, the samples evaluated include several hours at the beginning of the analysis, at the point of decision about termination, at termination, and in four to six interviews two to five years after the end of the analysis. The data are microscopically reviewed in an analytic manner by a group, including the follow-up analyst. The information is then organized according to a schema that includes ego functions entering into the analytic alliance, the defense transference, the special configuration of the Oedipus complex, and dreams. Two case examples are presented to illustrate the approach and to demonstrate that such a careful effort reveals with some precision the effects of the analytic process and permits an investigation of the nature of the process.

[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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