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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.

Tarachow, S. (1945). 'The Sexual Psychology of Human Hermaphrodites.': Albert Ellis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1945, Vol. VII, pp. 108–125.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 26:181-182.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: 'The Sexual Psychology of Human Hermaphrodites.': Albert Ellis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1945, Vol. VII, pp. 108–125.

(1945). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 26:181-182

'The Sexual Psychology of Human Hermaphrodites.': Albert Ellis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1945, Vol. VII, pp. 108–125.

Sidney Tarachow

This study is a review of the English literature on the subject. 84 cases were studied, including true hermaphrodites, pseudo-hermaphrodites and ? true hermaphrodites: only case reports that indicated libido status after puberty, sexual behaviour, proof of type of gonadal tissue and a description of the external and secondary sex organs were included. Even though most pseudo-hermaphrodites are male pseudo-hermaphrodites, those brought up as males take a male rôle almost exclusively and a majority of those brought up as females take a female rôle; 80 per cent. of those pseudo-hermaphrodites who had been brought up as females and took the female sex rô were actually male pseudo-hermaphrodites. A decided majority of ? true hermaphrodites brought up as females assume a female sex rôle and the over-whelming majority of those brought up as males take a male rôle. A majority of the true hermaphrodites brought up as females took the female sex rôle and an overwhelming majority of those brought up as males took the male rôle; 6 per

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cent. of the hermaphrodites were homosexual in relation to their upbringing and 4 per cent. bisexual: these two groups had all been brought up as females; no one brought up as a male became homosexual or bisexual. Not a single one of the true hermaphrodites played a bisexual rôle. Of those whose external sexual characteristics changed in time none displayed any change in sex rôle from the one they originally had. The author infers that the power of the sex drive depends on the gonads, but that the direction of the sex rôle depends largely on upbringing.

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Article Citation

Tarachow, S. (1945). 'The Sexual Psychology of Human Hermaphrodites.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 26:181-182

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