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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.

Rascovsky, L. (1946). Weiss, Edward: Cardiovascular lesions of probable psychosomatic origin in arterial hypertension. (Lesiones cardiovasculares de probable origen psicosomático en la hipertensión arterial.) “Psychosomatic Medicine.” Vol. 2, págs. 249-264; 1940.. Rev. psicoanál., 3(4):855-856.

(1946). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 3(4):855-856

Weiss, Edward: Cardiovascular lesions of probable psychosomatic origin in arterial hypertension. (Lesiones cardiovasculares de probable origen psicosomático en la hipertensión arterial.) “Psychosomatic Medicine.” Vol. 2, págs. 249-264; 1940.

Review by:
Luis Rascovsky

Después de señalar brevemente las discusiones referentes a los factores emocionales causantes o capaces de influir enfermedades orgánicas y a los distintos criterios de enfoque, presenta unos casos en los que dice no pretende elucidar la vieja controversia entre fisiogénesis y psicogénesis, sino para mostrar que en muchos casos diagnosticados solamente en sus aspectos físicos el estudio psicológico de los mismos es de gran importancia clínica. Un neurótico a síntomas cardíacos con un corazón normal puede presentar perturbaciones de la función cardíaca en forma de dolores, arritmias que pueden llegar a producir lesiones estructurales, aspecto este que no entra a discutir en el trabajo. Lo mismo sucede con el cardíaco orgánico con manifestaciones neuróticas donde, de acuerdo con Dumbar y Wolfe, el factor psíquico puede tener mayor importancia en la producción de su incapacidad.

Ilustra el trabajo con la presentación y el estudio completo de varios casos, entre ellos el de una encefalopatía hipertensiva con ataques de tipo epiléptico en un sujeto de 70 años en e' que la investigación comprobó que correspondían con sentimientos de culpa y vuelta contra el yo de fuertes deseos agresivos. Un caso muy interesante con variaciones de las cifras de la tensión entre 210-160 y 130-88 producidas por angustias de mutilación consecuente a una operación de apendicitis que se reproduce en nuevos períodos de ansiedad, acompañados de paresias, retinitis vasoespásticas y fenómenos de encefalopatía hipertensiva.

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