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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.

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Results 1 - 24 of 24 for your search on "Fast, Irene":

Fast, I. (1991). The Preoedipal Origin and Psychoanalytic Therapy of Sexual Perversions. Charles W. Socarides. Madison, CT: International Universities, 1988, xiii + 639 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 78(3):469-472. […]
Fast, I. (1990). Aspects of Early Gender Development: Toward a Reformulation. Psychoanal. Psychol., 7S(Supplement):105-117. […]
Fast, I. (1985). Infantile Narcissism and the Active Infant. Psychoanal. Psychol., 2(2):153-170. […]
Fast, I. (1990). Self and Ego: A Framework for their Integration. Psychoanal. Inq., 10(2):141-162. […]
Fast, I. (1999). Aspects of Core Gender Identity. Psychoanal. Dial., 9(5):633-661. […]
Fast, I. (1995). The Dynamic Self in Psychoanalytic Psychology A Formulation. Psychoanal. Dial., 5(3):435-458. […]
Fast, I. (1994). Women's Capacity to Give Birth: A Sex-Difference Issue for Men?. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(1):51-68. […]
Fast, I. (1992). The Embodied Mind: Toward a Relational Perspective. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(3):389-409. […]
Fast, I. (1991). Commentary on “Father and Daughter: Identification with Difference—A Contribution to Gender Heterodoxy. Psychoanal. Dial., 1(3):301-304. […]
Fast, I. (1978). Developments in Gender Identity: The Original Matrix. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 5:265-273. […]
Fast, I. Chethik, M. (1976). Aspects of Depersonalization—Derealization in the Experience of Children. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:483-490. […]
Fast, I. (1979). Developments in Gender Identity: Gender Differentiation in Girls. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 60:443-453. […]
Fast, I. (1975). Aspects of Work Style and Work Difficulty in Borderline Personalities. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:397-403. […]
Fast, I. (1970). A Function of Action in the Early Development of Identity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:471-478. […]
Fast, I. (1967). Some Relationships of Infantile Self-Boundary Development to Depression. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:259-266. […]
Fast, I. (2012). The Primary Processes Grow up: Freud's More Radical View of the Mind. Contemp. Psychoanal., 48(2):183-198. […]
Fast, I. (2006). A Body-Centered Mind: Freud's More Radical Idea. Contemp. Psychoanal., 42(2):273-295. […]
Fast, I. (2005). Levenson's Self. Contemp. Psychoanal., 41(4):733-742. […]
Fast, I. Chethik, M. (1972). Some Aspects of Object Relationships in Borderline Children. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 53:479-485. […]
Fast, I. (1983). Primary-Process Cognition: A Reformulation. Ann. Psychoanal., 11:199-225. […]
Fast, I. (1999). Reply to Commentary. Psychoanal. Dial., 9(5):675-682. […]
Fast, I. Chethik, M. (1981). Depersonalisierungs- und Derealisierungserlebnisse bei Kindern. Psyche – Z Psychoanal., 35(8):718-732. […]
Fast, I. (1991). Commentary on “On Intimacy Between Men”. Psychoanal. Dial., 1(3):329-334. […]
Fast, I. (1990). Psychoanalytic Psychology: An Argument for Change in Editorial Policy. Psychoanal. Psychol., 7(1):137-138. […]
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