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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.

Will, H. (2013). Ferenczis Anstoß: Glaube, Unglaube und Überzeugung in der Psychoanalyse. Luzifer-Amor, 26(52):84-95.

(2013). Luzifer-Amor: Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Psychoanalyse, 26(52):84-95

Ferenczis Anstoß: Glaube, Unglaube und Überzeugung in der Psychoanalyse

Herbert Will 2009); Freuds Atheismus im Widerspruch (Kohlhammer 2013).

Zusammenfassung: Der Autor würdigt Ferenczis Münchner Kongressvortrag von 1913 über »Glaube, Unglaube und Überzeugung« in seiner Genese und konzeptuellen Bedeutung. Er arbeitet heraus, in welchem Ausmaß sich darin Keime von Ferenczis späterer Entwicklung und Eigenständigkeit finden. Analog zu Frazer/Freuds Dreierschema der Menschheitsentwicklung von Magie - Religion - Wissenschaft sieht Ferenczi die individuelle Kindheitsentwicklung in drei Phasen: Allmachtsgefühl - Glaube und Unglaube - eigenständige Überzeugungen. Er fragt, unter welchen Bedingungen die Patienten in der Analyse eigenständige Überzeugungen gewinnen können, und betont die Freiheit, die Möglichkeit der Kritik und die Bedeutung emotionaler Erfahrungen. Freud konnte Ferenczis Vortrag nicht akzeptieren, weil er implizite Widersprüche zu seinem Denken enthielt - in denen der Autor ein noch unausgeschöpftes Potenzial für die psychoanalytische Theoriebildung findet.

Summary: Ferenczi's provocation: Belief, disbelief and conviction in psychoanalysis. The author discusses the genesis and conceptual focus of the paper delivered by Ferenczi at the Munich congress in 1913. He highlights the germs of Ferenczi's later development and originality it contains. In analogy to Frazer's/Freud's tripartite scheme of human evolution, leading from magic to religion and science, Ferenczi set out three phases of individual infantile development: the feeling of omnipotence, belief and disbelief, independent conviction. He asked how patients in analysis were able to gain independent convictions, emphasizing freedom, licence to criticize and emotional experience. Freud could not accept Ferenczi's paper since it implied some opposition to his thoughts which, however, may present still unexploited potentials for psychoanalytic theory formation.

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