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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.

Dwyer Hall, H. (2019). Mentalization-based treatment for children: a time-limited approach: by Nick Midgley, Karin Ensink, Karin Lindqvist, Norka Malberg, & Nicole Muller, Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, 2017, 268 pp., £49.38 (Hardcover), ISBN 978-1-4338-2732-7; £49.38 (Kindle Edition). Psychoanal. Psychother., 33(2):136-141.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 33(2):136-141

Mentalization-based treatment for children: a time-limited approach: by Nick Midgley, Karin Ensink, Karin Lindqvist, Norka Malberg, & Nicole Muller, Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, 2017, 268 pp., £49.38 (Hardcover), ISBN 978-1-4338-2732-7; £49.38 (Kindle Edition)

Holly Dwyer Hall

In this highly readable and informative book, Nick Midgley and an international team of clinician-researchers explore the role of mentalization, ‘the ability to interpret the meaning of others’ behavior by considering underlying mental states and intentions’, in the treatment of childhood disorders. The authors, trained and accomplished psychodynamic practitioners, integrate psychodynamic principals with findings from attachment and affect-regulation theory, systemic family therapy and empirical studies of mentalization to offer the first comprehensive treatment guide to a time-limited mentalizing approach to work with children. Individually their research and clinical accomplishments are impressive, and together they find a singular voice in a text written with much compassion and careful consideration of the complexities involved in working with children.

Although initially developed as a treatment method for adults with personality disorders, Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) has its roots in child analysis. The authors rightly trace these to the early work of Anna Freud (1965) and her recognition of the therapist as not only a ‘transference object’ but also a ‘developmental object’, helping children to foster new capacities. Fonagy and Target (1996, 1998) later outlined a clinical approach, psychodynamic developmental therapy, which highlighted the importance of a capacity for playfulness and enhancing reflective functioning. In Psychoanalysis and Developmental Therapy Anne Hurry (1998) further delineated the shift away from ‘interpretation and insight’ to the restoration of developmental processes and the importance of a facilitating environment (Winnicott, 1965).

[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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