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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.

Gabe, S. (1950). The Quarterly Journal of Child Behavior. I, 1949: Problems in Analysis of Children with Psychosomatic Disorders. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 12–17.. Psychoanal Q., 19:451.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Quarterly Journal of Child Behavior. I, 1949: Problems in Analysis of Children with Psychosomatic Disorders. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 12–17.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:451

The Quarterly Journal of Child Behavior. I, 1949: Problems in Analysis of Children with Psychosomatic Disorders. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 12–17.

S. Gabe

This paper deals with some of the major difficulties encountered in analytic work with children suffering from psychosomatic disorders. The reluctance of parents to obtain such psychoanalytic help for their children stems not alone from ignorance and lack of insight. An important factor is the mother's fear of exposing her motivations. The illness of the child is essentially an expression of the mother's unconscious death wish toward the child. Unless the destructive drive of the mother can be ameliorated, the child often cannot be saved.

Diet and hospitalization are often employed by the mother as weapons against the child. The child, sensing the hostile component in the imposition of the special diet, resists and fights the food restriction. Once the child becomes convinced of the sincerity of the motivation, it will accept even severe dietary restrictions without protest. Since dietary transgressions are equated in the child's mind with sexual transgressions and hence carry a threat of castration, it is usually advisable for the physician who prescribes the diet to lift it, thus taking away the castration threat.

Hospitalization is regarded by the sick child as an abandonment by the mother, which unconsciously it often is. If the overanxiousness of the mother can be lessened, hospitalization may be warded off and the mother may be induced to bring even an acutely ill child to the analyst's office. 'The psychoanalytic treatment may go on for years, but the analytic interpretation of an acute attack equals surgical procedure in promptness of effect and can be considered emergency treatment.' The author adduces illustrative case material to document her views.

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Article Citation

Gabe, S. (1950). The Quarterly Journal of Child Behavior. I, 1949. Psychoanal. Q., 19:451

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