Bottom-up database design is a difficult task for novice database designers and is particularly challenging to teach. To address the problem, two methods—textbook and cookbook—have been suggested. The textbook method describes the Codd’s normalization algorithm and data model visualization adopted by most textbooks. The cookbook method illustrates a simple and straightforward normalization algorithm and ER diagram mapping technique proposed by the authors. This paper describes the conceptual framework, experimental design, and results of a laboratory study that employed novice designers to compare the error rates of the two methods (between subjects) at two levels of task complexity. Results indicate that the cookbook method led to significant lower error rates.