What is REDCap?
REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure web-based application for building and managing online databases and surveys. It is suitable for use in participant-based research, such as clinical trials, observational studies, longitudinal studies, and survey-based projects. It provides sophisticated functionality for the management of data collection in research, and a secure environment for the processing of personal and confidential information.
Using REDCap, project teams can build electronic data collection instruments quickly and easily. Research data can be collected from participants by means of surveys or entered directly by members of a project, from anywhere with an internet connection. The REDCap mobile app allows offline data capture. REDCap supports the whole data lifecycle, including data collection, validation and analysis. Data can be exported in tabular format, XML, and to common statistical packages (Stata, SPSS, SAS, R). Discover more of REDCap's features here.
Data are securely stored on a University of Reading server and managed in accordance with University Information Compliance Policies. Sophisticated user rights management allows each user's access to identifiable information and database functionality to be controlled by the project owner. REDCap can be used to process identifiable information, although users are encouraged to minimise the storage of such data in REDCap, and to key-code data using pseudonymous IDs wherever possible.
How can REDCap be used?
REDCap can be used for non-commercial research and research-related projects which have a designated PI who is a member of UoR staff. Non-commercial research funded by commercial organisations is permitted, and REDCap may be used for multi-centre studies where there is a project PI or Co-I based at the University. REDCap cannot be used to provide services (either gratis or for a fee) to a third party, e.g. to support external research teams where there is no University staff member involved in the study.
Who can use REDCap?
University academic staff and students are eligible to create their own REDCap projects. Projects (other than practice projects) must be authorised by a PI. For REDCap purposes, the PI is the UoR project PI, the UoR Co-I in a collaboration, or a student's supervisor or tutor.
Is REDCap right for my project?
REDCap is research database first and a survey tool second. Data capture can be via data entry form as well as survey; multiple instruments can be linked together; a scheduling module enables longitudinal data collection; validation functions and event logging support data quality and integrity; and advanced features are available, such as an API that can be used to interact programmatically with other services. REDCap also provides a secure collaborative environment that allows flexible configuration of users’ permissions to view, edit and export data.
REDCap is designed to be a secure environment, suitable for the management of identifiable information under institutional oversight. For this reason user accounts and projects must be requested and approved, and approval is required to move a project from development to production (i.e. into live data collection mode).
If you only require a survey tool, and your requirements are not complex, other solutions may be more suitable, such as Jisc Online Surveys or Microsoft Forms. Find out more about online survey tools available through the University.
Is there a cost to use REDCap?
There is no cost to use REDCap. Eligible users may create REDCap projects free of charge. REDCap is funded for five years from 2020.
In the interest of maintaining a sustainable service beyond the funded period, we will introduce charges for external grant-funded projects from 1st August 2022.
How do I get started?
To get started with REDCap, you will need to request a REDCap user account. Once you have a REDCap account, you can be added to existing REDCap projects. If you are a member of the University, you will be able to request your own project (note that if you are not the project PI, your PI's authorisation to create the project will be required).
As a University user you can create a practice project at any time. This will allow you to explore REDCap and familiarise yourself with its features ahead of using it for live research. Practice projects do not require authorisation, but they can only be maintained in development status: projects can only be used for live data collection where a Project Request has been submitted and approved.
How do I find out about REDCap and how to use it?
The UoR REDCap Service Guide (PDF) explains how UoR REDcap is managed and how it can be used. Among other things it includes information about the policy on the processing of identifiable information in UoR REDCap, how to set up a project, how to manage user rights, and what happens at the end of a project.
Data management in REDCap: a good practice guide (PDF) includes general guidelines for the safe processing of identifiable information, best practice guidance for pseudonymous data processing, definitions and examples of direct identifiers, indirect identifiers, and potential identifiers, and recommendations on managing user rights to reduce risk when processing identifiable information.
REDCap the Basics (PDF) provides an overview of REDCap features. For a comprehensive, detailed guide to REDCap functions and workflows, download the Vanderbilt Meharry REDCap User Guide. Bear in mind that some of the workflows, e.g. for gaining access to REDCap and creating projects, will be different in UoR REDCap, and that not all of the features described in the guide are enabled in the UoR service.
Within REDCap itself you will find Help and FAQs, training videos and on-screen guidance. The REDCap Consortium also provides access to a Shared Library of data collection instruments and forms that can be downloaded and used.
If there is something you want REDCap to be able to do, and you cannot find the required functionality in REDCap or in any of the helps or user guides, a further option is to explore the REDCap Repository of External Modules. External Modules can be installed by a REDCap administrator on request.
Do you provide training?
A course ‘UoR REDCap: a secure web application for managing data collection in participant-based research’ is offered to research students on a termly basis through the Reading Researcher Development Programme.
Where can I get help?
We recommend that all UoR REDCap users join the UoR REDCap Community of Practice. This is an MS Team which can be used to connect with other REDCap users in the University to ask for help, share expertise and organise activities. The Team is also used to share service communications, e.g. about software updates and training. You will be asked if you wish to join the Community of Practice when you request a user account.
If you require assistance with REDCap, please email the REDCap Administrators.
University staff and students with a REDCap user account can log in using their University accounts. DTS Account Services provides guidance on how to reset your University account password. If you are unable to log in to your University account, contact DTS.
If you have a REDCap table-based account (external users only), contact the REDCap Administrators to reset your password.