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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.

Jaitin, R. (2016). Ways and Voices in the Psychoanalysis of Links According to Enrique Pichon-Rivière. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 6(2):159-172.

(2016). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 6(2):159-172

Ways and Voices in the Psychoanalysis of Links According to Enrique Pichon-Rivière1

Rosa Jaitin, Ph.D.

This article covers several stages of the work of Pichon-Rivière. In the 1950s he introduced the hypothesis of “the link as a four way relationship” (of reciprocal love and hate) between the baby and the mother. Clinical work with psychosis and psychosomatic disorders prompted him to examine how mental illness arises; its areas of expression, the degree of symbolisation, and the different fields of clinical observation. From the 1960s onwards, his experience with groups and families led him to explore a second path leading to “the voices of the link”—the voice of the internal family sub-group, and the place of the social and cultural voice where the link develops. This brought him to the definition of the link as a “bi-corporal and tri-personal structure”. The author brings together the different levels of the analysis of the link, using as a clinical example the process of a psychoanalytic couple therapy with second generation descendants of a genocide within the limits of the transferential and countertransferential field. Body language (the core of the transgenerational link) and the couple's absences and presence during sessions create a rhythm that gives rise to an illusion, ultimately transforming the intersubjective link between the partners in the couple and with the analyst.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2016 and more current articles see the publishers official website.]

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