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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 - 20 of 20 for your search on "Shapiro, Edward R.":

Shapiro, E.R. (1985). Couples in Collusion: By Jürg Willi. New York: Aronson, 1982, 265 pp., $25.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 33:248-249. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2004). Discussion of Ernst Prelinger's “Thoughts on Hate and Aggression”. Psychoanal. St. Child, 59:44-51. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2019). Wesley Carr, Religious Institutions, and Institutional Integrity. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 19(1):103-111. […]
Shapiro, E.R. Carr, A.W. (2017). Citizenship as Development. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 17(2):278-288. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2016). Learning from the Director's Role: Leadership and Vulnerability. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 16(2):255-270. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2013). Derailment in Organisational Development: Consultations to the Austen Riggs Center. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 13(1):41-54. […]
Shapiro, E.R. Carr, A.W. (2012). An Introduction to Tavistock-Style Group Relations Conference Learning. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 12(1):70-80. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2011). Fed with Tears - Poisoned with Milk: The ‘Nazareth’ Group-Relations Conferences. Germans and Israelis - the Past in the Present. H. Shmuel Erlich, Mira Erlich-Ginor, and Hermann Beland. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag, 2009.. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 11(1):119-121. […]
Shapiro, E.R. Carr, W. (2006). ‘Those People Were Some Kind of Solution’: Can Society in Any Sense Be Understood?. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 6(2):241-257. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2003). The Maturation of American Identity: A Study of the Elections of 1996 and 2000 and the War against Terrorism. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 3(1):121-133. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2001). The Effect of Social Changes on the Doctor-Patient Relationship. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 1(2):227-237. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2000). The Changing Role of the CEO. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 1(1):130-142. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2009). A View From Riggs: Treatment Resistance and Patient Authority—XII. Examined Living: A Psychodynamic Treatment System. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 37(4):683-698. […]
Shapiro, E.R. Zinner, J. Shapiro, R.L. Berkowitz, D.A. (1975). The Influence of Family Experience on Borderline Personality Development. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 2:399-411. […]
Berkowitz, D.A. Shapiro, R.L. Zinner, J. Shapiro, E.R. (1974). Family Contributions to Narcissistic Disturbances in Adolescents. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:353-362. […]
Shapiro, E.R. Shapiro, R.L. Zinner, J. Berkowitz, D.A. (1977). The Borderline Ego and the Working Alliance: Indications for Family and Individual Treatment in Adolescence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 58:77-87. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (2011). Psychoanalytic Institutions and Treatment Resistance: Commentary on Kafka. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 59(1):71-79. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (1998). The Personality of the Organization. By Lionel F. Stapley. London: Free Association Books, 1996, 230 pp., $55.00. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(4):1313-1315. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (1994). The Practice of Group Analysis. Edited by Jeff Roberts and Malcolm Pines. New York: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991, xii + 204 pp., $55.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:955-959. […]
Shapiro, E.R. (1999). Introduction: A Holding Context for Psychotherapy Impasse. Am. J. Psychoanal., 59(2):101-103. […]
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