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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.

Martela, F. Saarinen, E. (2013). The Systems Metaphor in Therapy Discourse: Introducing Systems Intelligence. Psychoanal. Dial., 23(1):80-101.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 23(1):80-101

The Systems Metaphor in Therapy Discourse: Introducing Systems Intelligence

Frank Martela, Ph.D. and Esa Saarinen, Ph.D.

Following the relational turn in psychoanalytic theorizing, the systems metaphor has increasingly become a part of the therapeutic vocabulary. This has led to a view of therapy as an ongoing process in which the mutual interplay between the analyst and the patient cocreates a systemic higher level dimension that is based on bidirectional and jointly coordinated, simultaneous forms of interaction that influence the mental processes and regulatory patterns of both of the participants thus creating possibilities for creative therapeutic interventions. However, the objectivistic overtones of the systems metaphor can lead to reifying interpretations of the therapeutic encounter and to a failure to acknowledge its intrinsically subtle context-bound nuances and often idiosyncratic possibilities. This pitfall is avoided by introducing into therapeutic discourse the concept of systems intelligence, which integrates systems thinking with subjectivistic and intersubjectivistic parameters. By emphasizing the analyst's embeddedness within the systemic wholeness of the therapeutic situation and her sensibilities-based abilities to act intelligently in it, systems intelligence provides a humanly tuned meta-understanding for the systemic aspects of the therapist in action.

Analytic therapists tolerate uncertainty, find meaning in apparently disordered communication, and embrace the unexpected twists and turns that emerge from intimate attention to the ordinary complexities of everyday life. These are hallmarks of a psychoanalytic sensibility that spans various theoretical persuasions. Non-linear dynamic systems embodies the same sensibilities: It emphasizes such descriptions as pattern, complexity, flux and flow, the interplay of ambiguity and order, stability and instability, and the natural value of uncertainty and generative chaos. — Seligman (2005, p. 285)

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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