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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.

Rees, K.E. (1980). Child Analysis and Therapy. Jules Glenn, with the assistance of Melvin A. Scharfman (Eds.). New York: Jason Aronson, 1978. 759 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 67(2):285-287.

(1980). Psychoanalytic Review, 67(2):285-287

Child Analysis and Therapy. Jules Glenn, with the assistance of Melvin A. Scharfman (Eds.). New York: Jason Aronson, 1978. 759 pp.

Review by:
Katharine E. Rees

This is a valuable book for child analysis students, child psychiatrists, therapists and educators. It is essentially a collection of papers by well-known child analysts outlining the basic principles of child analytic assessment and technique with pre-latency, latency and pre-adolescent children, and discussing some applications of these principles to psychotherapy and educational approaches.

The editors felt that an updated book on technique was needed, and Glenn himself contributes some excellent articles in the first four parts of the book which provide a lucid exposition of general principles and the theory underlying them. The editors are particularly to be commended for their emphasis on providing clear clinical vignettes to illustrate the principles put forward, since it is often this translation from theory to the clinical material which is most problematical.

There are good chapters by Kramer and Byerly and by Wieder, describing the ways in which technique has to be tailored to the different levels of psychosexual and ego maturity. Wieder emphasises the special anxieties and resistances to treatment of the pre-adolescent which require careful understanding and patience by the analyst. Throughout there is a focus on the slow and careful work of defence analysis, with clear and vivid examples of the unfolding interpretative process. There are also beautifully clear examples given to illustrate the complex issues of diagnostic assessment and treatment choice in papers by Bernstein, Sax and Furman, and in Silverman's chapter on the value of Anna Freud's Diagnostic Profile.

[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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