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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.

Shane, M. Shane, E. (1993). Self Psychology after Kohut: One Theory or Many?. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:777-797.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:777-797

Self Psychology after Kohut: One Theory or Many?

Review by:
Morton Shane, M.D.

Estelle Shane, Ph.D.

HEINZ KOHUT DIED IN 1981 leaving his last book, How Does Analysis Cure?, to be published posthumously three years later. The sum total of his work included three books and a number of papers, but his influence cannot be measured by how much he wrote. By the time of his death he had developed a unique approach to the theory and technique of psychoanalysis, naming it self psychology, and had established as his central purpose to make of self psychology the superordinate framework for encompassing and understanding the entire psychoanalytic process. However, it was only gradually that Kohut arrived at this position. In 1957, in an address before the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago, he (Kohut, 1959) asserted his belief that empathy and introspection defined and limited the domain of inquiry in the field, a declaration that was to have great importance to the theory he had yet to develop, but that was not understood as such at the time. The unspoken, indirect reference was to his own conviction that psychoanalysis did not have to seek for explanations of clinical phenomena in a biologically based drive psychology, but rather could base its clinical theory on the analytic situation per se. With this relatively modest beginning, Kohut (1966), (1968) went on to publish his discovery of new transference configurations, together with his delineation of how such transferences might be recognized, interpreted, and worked through analytically. He also described the countertransference responses which might be anticipated to these particular transference configurations, noting how the countertransference responses themselves might serve diagnostic functions.

[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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