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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.

Robbins, A. (2015). The Second Century of Psychoanalysis: Evolving Perspectives on Therapeutic Action, edited by Michael J. Diamond and Christopher Christian, Karnac Books Limited, London, 2011, 362 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 43(4):656-658.

(2015). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(4):656-658

The Second Century of Psychoanalysis: Evolving Perspectives on Therapeutic Action, edited by Michael J. Diamond and Christopher Christian, Karnac Books Limited, London, 2011, 362 pp.

Review by:
Arnold Robbins, M.D., DLFAPA

This is a fascinating and illuminating book mostly to do with “The New Psychoanalysis.” The book is composed of several chapters, each one written by a different author. All of the authors are affiliated with the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies. Interestingly, of the 13 authors, 12 are from Ph.D. backgrounds and one is an M.D. For the most part the chapters are informative, deliberate, thoughtful, and reasonably well written. There is a coherency through all the chapters in that all deal with what psychoanalysis should be in this day and age, and what is the part of it that accounts for its therapeutic benefits and what the therapeutic gains that it offers are due to.

The introduction and first chapter, written by Michael Diamond and Christopher Christian, give an overview of where most of these authors see psychoanalysis' beginnings and into what it has evolved, and as such serves as a cornerstone for further chapters. The title of the introduction is “Evolving Perspectives on Therapeutic Action: Where Are We After A Century?” and this title is what the papers and the book itself are about. There are exciting discussions on what the locus of therapy is—insight or relationship—and if the latter, what it is in the relationship that is “curative” and helps people get better, or if not better, happier. (The corrective emotional experience ideas of Franz Alexander are discussed extensively.) This is exciting stuff and discussions about these issues are key to the individual practitioner's identity as a therapist.

[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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