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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 - 10 of 10 for your search on "Roberta Satow":

1. 
Hanowsky, J.A. (1988). Psychoanalytic Review, LXII, 1985: A Question of Bedrock: Is Penis Envy The Bottom Line? Roberta Satow. Pp. 265-275.. Psychoanal Q., 57:471-471. […]
 . . . Bedrock: Is Penis Envy The Bottom Line? Roberta Satow. Pp. 265-275. Psychoanalytic Quarterly (1988). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, . . . Bedrock: Is Penis Envy The Bottom Line? Roberta Satow. Pp. 265-275. Jerome A. Hanowsky In the midst of . . . place of penis envy in psychoanalytic thinking, Satow presents two cases which she considers to . . .
2. 
Satow, R. (1975). Psychoanalysis and Women. Jean Baker Miller (Ed.). New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1973.. Psychoanal. Rev., 62(3):515-516. […]
 . . . Miller (Ed.). New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1973. Review by: Roberta Satow Jean Baker Miller has done both feminists and . . .
3. 
Satow, R. (1979-80). Where has All the Hysteria Gone?. Psychoanal. Rev., 66(4):463-477. […]
 . . . Psychoanalytic Review, 66(4):463-477 Where has All the Hysteria Gone?* Roberta Satow, Ph.D. Author Information Although hysteria in its . . .
4. 
Satow, R. (1982). Response to Colleen Clements's “Misusing Psychiatric Models: the Culture of Narcissism”. Psychoanal. Rev., 69(2):296-302. […]
 . . . Clements's “Misusing Psychiatric Models: the Culture of Narcissism” Roberta Satow, Ph.D. Author Information Dr. Clements' paper focuses . . .
5. 
Satow, R. (1983). A Severe Case of Penis Envy: The Convergence of Cultural and Individual Intra-Psychic Factors. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 11(4):547-556. […]
 . . . The Convergence of Cultural and Individual Intra-Psychic Factors Roberta Satow, Ph.D. Author Information There is a tendency . . .
6. 
Satow, R. (1985). A Question of Bedrock: Is Penis Envy the Bottom Line?. Psychoanal. Rev., 72(2):265-275. […]
 . . . of Bedrock: Is Penis Envy the Bottom Line?* Roberta Satow, Ph.D. Author Information Historically, there has been . . .
7. 
Satow, R. (1985). Psyche And Society: Explorations In Psychoanalytic Sociology. Robert Endleman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1981. 465 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 72(1):188-190. […]
 . . . York: Columbia University Press, 1981. 465 pp. Review by: Roberta Satow As both a psychoanalyst and a professor of . . .
8. 
Satow, R. (1988). Psychic Functions of Failure. Psychoanal. Rev., 75(3):443-457. […]
 . . . Review (1988). Psychoanalytic Review, 75(3):443-457 Psychic Functions of Failure* Roberta Satow Author Information Achievement and upward mobility have . . .
9. 
Satow, R. (1995). From Inner Sources: New Directions in Object Relations Psychotherapy. N. Gregory Hamilton, ed. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1992. xxi + 313 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 82(4):642-644. […]
 . . . NJ: Aronson, 1992. xxi + 313 pp. Review by: Roberta Satow, Ph.D. Author Information This is a book . . .
10. 
Satow, R. (2003). Transference: Shibboleth or Albatross? By Joseph Schachter. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2002, 267 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 90(5):761-763. […]
 . . . Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2002, 267 pp. Review by: Roberta Satow Author Information Joseph Schachter begins with a . . .
 
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