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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.

Rosenfeld, H. (1987). Impasse and Interpretation: Therapeutic and anti-therapeutic factors in the psychoanalytic treatment of psychotic, borderline, and neurotic patients. New Library of Psychoanalysis, 1:1-318. London: Tavistock.

(1987). New Library of Psychoanalysis, 1:1-318. London: Tavistock.

Impasse and Interpretation: Therapeutic and anti-therapeutic factors in the psychoanalytic treatment of psychotic, borderline, and neurotic patients

Herbert Rosenfeld


Acknowledgements vii
Part One: Introduction 2
1. A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Treatment of Psychosis 3
Part Two: the Analyst's Contribution to Successful and Unsuccessful Treatment  
2. Some Therapeutic and Anti-Therapeutic Factors in the Functioning of the Analyst 31
3. Breakdown of Communication between Patient and Analyst 45
Part Three: the Influence of Narcissism on the Analyst's Task  
4. The Narcissistic Omnipotent Character Structure: A Case Of Chronic Hypochondriasis 65
5. Narcissistic Patients with Negative Therapeutic Reactions 85
6. Destructive Narcissism and the Death Instinct 105
7. The Problem of Impasse in Psychoanalytic Treatment 133
Part Four: The Influence of Projective Identification on the Analyst's Task  
8. Projective Identification in Clinical Practice 157
9. Projective Identification and the Problem of Containment in a Borderline Psychotic Patient 191
10. Further Difficulties in Containing Projective Identification 209
11. Projective Identification and the Psychotic Transference in Schizophrenia 220
12. Projective Identification and Counter-Transference Difficulties in the Course of an Analysis with a Schizophrenic Patient 241
Part Five: Conclusion  
13. Afterthought: Changing Theories and Changing Techniques in Psychoanalysis 265
Appendix on the Treatment of Psychotic States by Psychoanalysis – an Historical Approach 281
References 321


I want here to thank particularly the members of the Publications Committee of the British Psycho-Analytical Society; Dr Ron Britton and afterwards Mr David Tuckett who helped me to reshape the chapters of the book and encouraged me to add the concluding paper.

[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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