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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.

Harris, M. (1971). The Place of Once-Weekly Treatment in the Work of an Analytically Trained Child Psychotherapist. J. Child Psychother., 3(1):31-39.

(1971). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 3(1):31-39

The Place of Once-Weekly Treatment in the Work of an Analytically Trained Child Psychotherapist

Martha Harris

This brief paper reintroduces a topic which was the focus of the Association's very first study weekend eleven years ago, one with which those of us who work in clinics are continually occupied, and about which after those years of experience we may be in a better position to ask the relevant questions, and to make a few tentative generalisations.

I would first of all like to consider some of the anxieties that it tends to arouse in the therapist whose own personal analysis was a more intensive experience and who received a training largely based on cases who were receiving the same kind of intensive treatment. I would then like to consider some of the real differences and difficulties attendant upon the less intensive arrangement of sessions; possible goals; methods of selecting cases; the value and the dangers of teamwork. I would then like to mention situations where modification of the analytic technique of interpretation within the transference may seem to be more appropriate. Finally, I would like to take a glance at the relevance of our training for this once-weekly work, and at the place which it may usefully occupy within the timetable of the individual therapist.

Anxieties Aroused in the Therapist by Once-Weekly Treatment

There is often the guilty feeling that we should be giving this child more for his need is great. Perhaps we are still in full analysis ourselves; at any rate we have had in the past a more leisurely opportunity to come to grips with our own problems in living.

[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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