This study evaluated the use of two information retrieval systems on a 2,000-document full-text database. The first system, SAPHIRE, features concept-based automated indexing and statistical retrieval techniques, while the second system, SWORD, features traditional word-based Boolean techniques. Sixteen medical students each conducted ten queries. Their results, as measured by recall and precision, showed nearly equal performance for both methods. A post-study questionnaire indicated that this was a novice group of searchers who had about equal preference for each approach. SAPHIRE was also compared with a version of SWORD modified to use automated indexing and ranked retrieval. Using batch input of queries, the latter method performed slightly better.