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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.

Gill, H.S. (1988). Working Through Resistances of Intrapsychic and Environmental Origin. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:535-550.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:535-550

Working Through Resistances of Intrapsychic and Environmental Origin

Harwant S. Gill


Freud's paper 'Remembering, repeating and working through' implies three phases: (1) remembering and reporting, (2) the analysis of what the patient cannot remember and must repeat in the transference, leading to insight, and (3) the analysis of those remaining resistances which block the insight from leading to change.

Freud considered the third phase to be an arduous task for the patient, and a trial of

patience for the analyst, probably because of two additional determinants: (1) the patient's 'will' to change, and (2) his re-adaptation to his environment. The present paper focuses on the second of these determinants in completing (i.e. working through) the analysis of resistances.

A review of literature and the analysis of a patient are reported to indicate that the task of re-adaptation to environment is facilitated by focusing the interpretations not only on transference and reconstruction, but also on the determinants currently affecting the patient's relationships beyond transference.

[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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