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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. (1943). 'Types of Female Castration Reaction.': Emeline P. Haywood. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1943, Vol. XII, No. 1, pp. 45–66.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 24:188-189.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: 'Types of Female Castration Reaction.': Emeline P. Haywood. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1943, Vol. XII, No. 1, pp. 45–66.

(1943). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 24:188-189

'Types of Female Castration Reaction.': Emeline P. Haywood. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1943, Vol. XII, No. 1, pp. 45–66.

Sylvan Keiser

The types of reactions to phantasies of female castration are reviewed, particularly Abraham's wish-fulfilment type and the revengeful type. From material obtained in analysis, such women yearned not for their father's large penis, but for their brother's small, impotent organ. The author's eases all had brothers of their own age,

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and had been bathed with them when small. The wish-fulfilment type developed penis envy before the castration complex and blamed their mother for their lack of a penis. At an early age such women regard the penis merely as part of the body that is missing, but later in life they see it as a functioning organ. A good description of the revengeful type of woman is presented. Their everlasting injury, bitterness, and sense of unfairness is the open wound of a supposed castration. The wish-fulfilment type of woman has reached the phallic phase of development and identifies herself with her father. Such women consider their illusory penis as a 'bonus' and their penis envy develops after the phallic phase has been reached. The revengeful type develops penis envy at the anal-sadistic level.

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Article Citation

Keiser, S. (1943). 'Types of Female Castration Reaction.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 24:188-189

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