Project Development

You need to know certain facts about your project before creating in REDCap. The following list provides a starting point but will vary on a case-by-case basis. In some projects, you may have more than this planned out already, while others may still be defining the basics.

  1. The end goal(s) of your research
  2. The specific data to be captured
  3. The type of study: longitudinal, cross-sectional, etc.
  4. The research team and each member's role

REDCap Study Type

Study Type Definition
Surveys Once data collection instruments are created, users enter data. Additionally, any instrument can be enabled as a survey and then data from respondents collected. The only difference is which group enters data: project users, survey participants or both.

You may utilize a participant list to email a survey to recipients and to track who has completed the survey(s). If your first data collection is enabled as a survey, then you may use a public survey link, which is a single link emailed to all participants or even posted on a website.
Classic Database By default, new projects use the "classic" data collection format. This is the best option if all data collection instruments only need to be used once for each subject/record in the project.
Longitudinal Database If instruments are utilized numerous time to collect data (e.g., using an instrument named, "Visit Data" over ten visits for the same subject), then "longitudinal/repeating forms" data collection is probably best. Additionally, the longitudinal format allows utilizing the scheduling module, if required.

REDCap Setup Modules

Module Description Surveys Classic Database Longitudinal Database
Main Project Settings Allows you to choose between the data collection formats. By default, new projects use the classic database format unless you change it here. The project title or purpose can also be changed here. Yes Yes Yes
Design Data Collection Instruments/Enable the Survey

This module allows you to create new data collection instruments and surveys or edit existing ones. Changes are made by using the Online Designer or Upload Data Dictionary. You can use either method or both - the Online Designer helps build some initial fields/forms quickly and is a good place to make quick edits. Using the Data Dictionary file is more helpful when adding a large number of fields.

This module is used for making changes to the project, such as adding new fields or modifying existing fields, by using an offline method called the Data Dictionary. The Data Dictionary is a specifically-formatted CSV (comma delimited) file in which to construct project fields for upload.

The Online Designer allows you to make project modifications to fields and data collection instruments using a web browser. You may then enable the instruments to be used as surveys in the Online Designer.

NOTE: While in development status, all field changes take effect immediately in real time.

Yes Yes Yes
Survey-related options > Survey settings Available when your data collection instrument is enabled as a survey. The survey settings are available when you choose the Online Designer button. This is where you can make changes to the survey's basic information by modifying the survey fields and clicking the save changes button. Yes    
Define Events and Designate Instruments

Allows you to define "events" for your project to utilize data collection forms multiple times. Often used when collecting longitudinal data. An "event" may be a temporal event in the course of your project, such as a participant visit or a task to be performed. After events have been defined, designate the data collection instruments to use for any events, thus allowing you to use a form for multiple events for the same project record. You may group events into "arms," where there are one or more arms/groups for your project. Each arm can have as many events as you wish.

Enable optional modules and customization

Customize data. For example, Auto-numbering for records, Scheduling module for longitudinal only, Randomization module or designate an email field to use for invitations to survey participants and additional customization.

Yes Yes Yes
Set up project bookmarks (optional)

Create custom bookmarks to web pages that exist inside or outside REDCap. These bookmarks are links on the left-hand project menu and are accessed by users with privileges to do so. Custom settings allow control over a bookmark's appearance and behavior.

Optional Optional Optional
User Rights and Permissions

Grant users project access or edit current users' privileges from the User Rights page. Additionally, to limit user access to certain records and responses for this project, use Data Access Groups - users within a given Data Access Group can access records created by users within that group.

Yes Yes Yes
Test your project thoroughly

It is important to test the essential components of your project before moving it into production.

The best way to test a project is to use it as if you were entering real production data. Create test records and enter data for each to ensure the data collection instruments look and behave as you expect, especially branching logic and calculations.

Create reports to review and export to Excel or a statistical analysis package. Complete any surveys as if you were a participant by using the Public Survey Link or Participant List by sending a survey invitation to yourself. If other project modules will be used regularly, test them as well. It is always helpful to have colleagues (especially team members) look at your project with a fresh pair of eyes.

Yes Yes Yes
Move your project to production status

When ready, move the project to production status so real data can be collected.

NOTE: Once in production, you will not be able to edit the project fields in real time anymore. However, you can make edits in Draft Mode, which will then need to be approved by a REDCap administrator before taking effect.

Yes Yes Yes

REDCap Role Descriptions

Role Description
Principal Investigator Responsible for the proper conduct of a research project. Ensures all regulatory issues are addressed regardless of the funding source.
Administrator Assists the principal investigator (PI) to ensure all regulatory issues are addressed and research standards are followed.
Project Coordinator Manages day-to-day tasks of the research project to include REDCap data instruments and overall management of enrollment and data collection.
Data Coordinator Develops the REDCap data instruments and oversees the overall management of project data.
Statistician Develops the study design; also the review and analysis of collected data.
Project Staff Assists other staff as appropriate.
Read Only Assists other staff as appropriate with limited, read-only access.
Data Entry Assists with the creation of records and data entry only.

REDCap User Rights Setup

Field Description
Add New User Add new users to your project. ECU PirateID is the username.
Expiration Date Provide a date to disable user accounts, if needed. Examples include sponsored accounts, temporary staff and students.
  Highest Level Privileges:
Project Design & Setup Allows access to the Online Form Editor/Data Dictionary and Event Definitions
User Rights Allows access to add user rights for a project. The project owner may delegate this task to another project user.
Data Access Groups Restrict data viewing within a database. For example, a multi-site study where each site has an access group. Users at each site are assigned to that site's access group and only access study records created by users within their group.
  Privileges for Data Exports (including PDFs and API exports), reports and stats:
No Access The Data Export Module allows project data export to Microsoft Excel, SAS, Stata, R or SPSS for analysis. If No Access is chosen, this link does not appear for the user, and the functionality is not available.
De-Identified The Data Export Module allows data export to Microsoft Excel, SAS, Stata, R or SPSS for analysis. If the de-Identified option is chosen, all free-form text fields, date/time fields and identifier fields are removed so the user only exports de-identified information.
Tagged Identifier Fields Removed Export project data to Microsoft Excel, SAS, Stata, R or SPSS for analysis. If the Remove all Tagged Identifier Fields option is chosen, the user does not have the option to export any data that has been marked as an identifier by the project designers. It is also applied to all data export files in all modules where data is exported (Ex: PDFs, reports, API). In reports and API data exports, fields that have been tagged as Identifier Fields will simply be removed from the export file. PDF exports include identifier fields, but remove and replace any saved data values with the text, [*DATA REMOVED*] for such fields.
Full Data Set The Data Export Module allows project data export to Microsoft Excel, SAS, Stata, R or SPSS for analysis. If Full Data Set option is chosen, the user has access to all data collected.
Add/Edit Reports The Report Builder Module allows project data export to Microsoft Excel, SAS, Stata, R or SPSS for analysis. If the Full Data Set option is chosen, the user has access to all data collected.
Stats and Charts Assists in data cleaning and evaluation. The Plots tab displays graphical representations for all numerical and categorical variables and provides links for cleaning notable data (missing, highest, lowest values). The Descriptive Stats tab displays descriptive statistics for all variables. This includes the number missing values for all questions, and for any questions with numerical answers, it displays minimum and maximum values, mean, median, standard deviation (StDe) and first and third quartiles (Q1, Q3).
  Other Privileges:
Manage Survey Participants Grants user access to manage the public survey URLs, participant contact lists and survey invitation log.
Calendar Tracks project events. When used in a longitudinal design, the calendar is used in conjunction with the scheduling module to link records, events and data entry forms. The Calendar application can be a project calendar to organize, schedule and keep track of upcoming events. Calendar events can be added or modified.
Data Import Tool Import data into a project using a CSV (comma separated variables) format (required). The field order or the number of fields being imported does not matter, except that the record identified (Ex: Subject ID) must be the first field.
Data Comparison Tool Compares two records currently in the project if double data entry is enabled. When the user selects a record from two lists and then hits the "Compare" button, a comparison table is displayed showing the differences between the two records.
Logging Lists all changes made to the project, including data exports, data changes and the creation or deletion of users. For security purposes, this feature should be restricted to the highest level users.
File Repository Store and retrieve files and documents used for the project. Also upload files to save for retrieval later or download previously uploaded files.
Data Quality (Create & Edit Rules) A page that finds project data discrepancies or errors by allowing you to create and execute data quality rules. Users with Create & Edit Rules rights for Data Quality are able to access the Data Quality module and create, edit, reorder and delete any of the custom rules in that module. The user setting must be checked to see this option.
Data Quality (Execute Rules) Users with rights can access the Execute buttons in the Data Quality module to execute any of the rules, including the pre-defined rules, to display a detailed list of all data discrepancies. The user setting must be checked to see this option.
API (API Export) Interface that allows external applications to connect to REDCap remotely for programmatically retrieving or modifying data or settings within REDCap. An example is automated data imports to or exports from a specified REDCap project. This function allows exporting a set of records for a project.

Note about export rights. Data Export user rights are applied to this API request. For example, if you have No Access data export rights in the project, then the API data export will fail and return an error. With De-Identified or Remove all tagged Identifier fields data export rights, some data fields might be removed and filtered out of the data set returned from the API.
To make sure no data is filtered out of your API request, Full Data Set export rights are needed.

Note regarding Parent/Child projects: While this does work for Parent/Child projects, it will export the parent's records or the child's records separately rather than together. If accessing the Parent via API, it will only return the Parent's records, and if accessing the Child via API, it will only return the Child's records.
API (API Import/Update Interface that allows external applications to connect to REDCap remotely for programmatically retrieving or modifying data or settings within REDCap. An example is performing automated data imports/exports from a specified REDCap project. This function allows you to import a set of records for a project. NOTE: While this does work for Parent/Child projects, please note that it will import the records only to the specific project you are accessing via the API (i.e. the Parent or the Child project) and not to both. Additionally, if importing new records into a Child project, those records must also already exist in the Parent project, or else the API will return an error.
  Settings Pertaining to Project Records:
Create Records Create a new Study ID on the first data entry form by entering a new record name into the text field. If users do not have this privilege, they will not see the text field on that page and will only be able to access and edit existing records.
Rename Records Renaming a record means to change its Study ID to another value. Users see an editable text field at the top of the first data entry form after selecting a record. That text field contains the current record name, and by changing its value and saving the form, that record is now changed to the new designated value. The system prevents naming a record to a value that already exists.
Delete Records Users with the ability to delete records have the ability to permanently delete all data for a given record. Click the Delete Record button at the bottom of any data entry form after selecting a record. For databases with multiple events (longitudinal), this action will delete all data for all events across all arms. Once performed, there is no way to retrieve the data that was deleted. It is recommended that only the highest level users be given this privilege.
Settings Pertaining to Record-Locking and E-Signatures:
Record Locking Customization Only users with Record Locking privileges can lock and unlock records for a specific form. Once a form is locked for a record, the form will display (for all users) the time it was locked and the user who locked it, and all fields on the form will be disabled/read-only until someone with Lock/Unlock privileges unlocks the form. Access to this module will allow the user to optionally include custom text when the record is locked for each form.
Lock/Unlock Records (Disabled) Lock/Unlock Records functionality unavailable to user.
Lock/Unlock Records (Locking/Unlocking The user will be able to lock a record and all fields will be read-only until someone with lock/unlock privileges unlocks the form.
Allow locking on all forms Allow locking for all forms at once for a given record
Data Entry Rights (No Access) User does not have the ability to view or edit data on a web page in REDCap (Ex: data entry forms).

User is able to view the data on data imports and exports.
Data Entry Rights (Read Only) User is able to view but not edit data on a web page in REDCap (Ex: data entry forms).

User is also able to view the data on data imports and exports.
Data Entry Rights (View & Edit) User has the ability to edit survey responses and alter existing survey data entered directly by a participant.

It is recommended that only the highest level users be given this privilege.