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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.

West, M. (2008). Navaro, Leyla & Schwartzberg, Sharan. Envy, Competition and Gender — Theory, Clinical Applications and Group Work. Hove & New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. xvi + 255. Hbk. £60. Pbk. £22.99/$39.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 53(1):138-140.

(2008). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 53(1):138-140

Navaro, Leyla & Schwartzberg, Sharan. Envy, Competition and Gender — Theory, Clinical Applications and Group Work. Hove & New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. xvi + 255. Hbk. £60. Pbk. £22.99/$39.95.

Review by:
Marcus West

Edited by:
Linda Carter and Marcus West

Two main themes emerge in this excellent book on envy—that of the different course and challenges of envy (and competitiveness) for the different genders, and that of the potentially positive and constructive aspects, outcomes, and ways of working with envy—the ‘de-demonization’ of envy, as it is called here. The editors, Leyla Navaro and Sharan Schwartzberg, have brought together a laudably coherent set of separately authored papers / chapters from contributors mainly from the United States, but also from Turkey, Israel and the Netherlands.

The book starts off with a very helpful introduction and overview of envy, taking the reader from Freud's essentially gendered view of penis envy to Horney's powerful critique of Freud, emphasizing instead the influence of society and culture, through to Klein's view of envy as a constitutionally based destructive impulse, and on to later contributions by Torok, Chasseguet-Smirgel, Benjamin, Chodorow, and Maguire, as well as broader perspectives such as Joffe's classic review of the subject and Nitsun's concept of the anti-group.

The book then develops three different areas—developmental, practice and group perspectives. The first section is the highlight of the book for me. Avi Berman's excellent chapter begins by looking at research on envy—showing that it starts with the child of one year's simple wish to take what he/she wants, before evolving into the (Kleinian) picture of ‘I should have and he shouldn't’, and then beyond to a situation of equalization—‘I also want’ (two to three years).

[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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