What is REDCap?
REDCap stands for Research Electronic Data Capture. It is a secure, web-based application for building data entry forms and surveys.  REDCap was created at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. It is licensed for free to academic institutions and hospitals across the world. CHEO’s REDCap Instance is installed locally and support by CHEO’s Clinical Research Unit. The application is available for the entire CHEO community at no cost. 

What does REDCap provide?

  • Functionality suited to a variety of project types (e.g. chart review, survey, cohort study, multi-site trial, etc.)
  • Full audit trail
  • Increased quality of data (response validation)
  • Longitudinal project setup
  • Seamless integration with statistical analysis projects
  • Fine-grained user permissions and data access groups for multi-site studies
  • Automatic survey invitations and reminders
  • Built-in queries tracking workflow
  • Automated daily back-ups performed by Information Services
  • And so much more!

Who can use REDCap and for what kinds of projects?
In summary, REDCap can be used for: 

  • Research studies that have obtained approval from an institutional REB 
  • Databases to support administrative and operational activities where personal health information is not collected (e.g. registration form, lunch poll)
  • De-identified databases to support quality assurance (QA) initiatives where QA is defined as the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met

Sounds great! How do I get started?
Email [email protected] to request an account.

REDcap FAQ’s

A thorough list of frequently asked questions (and answers!) is available directly in REDCap. Please search the list before contacting the System Administrator. If you can’t find your answer, we’re more than happy to help. Just email [email protected]. Below are some supplemental FAQs you may find useful. 

Who can use CHEO’s REDCap Instance? 
Any CHEO or CHEO RI staff, physician, and project affiliate may access REDCap, review public databases (i.e. demo databases), and modify a database to which a corresponding authorization is granted. Only CHEO or CHEO RI staff and physicians can request to create a new database. You can log in at this website

How do I request a REDCap account? 
A new user account can be requested by e-mailing [email protected]. A user must have an account before you can add them to a project. 

How do I  add a user to my project?
User Rights (i.e. user access and permissions) are entirely controlled by the research team, not by the REDCap Administrator. Once a user’s account exists, you can add them to your project by navigating to the User Rights page (button found on Project Setup and in left hand pane under Applications). Note that you yourself need “User Rights” permissions to perform this function. By default, the person who requested the project will always have access to the User Rights module.  You can add a user with Custom Rights by typing their first name, last name, or username into the box provided. Then check off whatever modules the user requires. If you need to add many people to a project who all share the same permissions, consider creating a User Role. A User Role dictates the rights for a certain type of user (e.g. Data Entry Person, Statistician). You can then assign a user to that role and they will automatically be granted only the permissions associated with that role. This can be a huge time-saver!

What are Data Access Groups (DAGs)?   
Data Access Groups restrict viewing of data within a project. DAGs are typically used in multi-site studies in order to ensure each site can only ever view and enter data from their own centre.

Should I use the Online Designer or the Data Dictionary?   
The Online Designer and Data Dictionary can be used interchangeably. If this is your first REDCap project, we recommend starting off with the Online Designer. Once you become more comfortable with the system, you can explore the Data Dictionary. The Data Dictionary can be a useful tool when you have variables that repeat themselves within an instrument or project. For example, creating an Adverse Events or Concomitant Medications CRF may be facilitated by using the Data Dictionary. Make sure to watch the Data Dictionary training video before you begin and contact the REDCap Administrator if you’re not sure about how to use the tool. 

When should I enable Longitudinal Project Setup? 
This one is a little tricky! Generally, longitudinal functionality should be enabled when you are collecting identical information from the same participants multiple times. For example, if you were collecting identical information at several follow up visits, or had a survey that you were administering to the same participants multiple times, you’d likely want to turn this module on. REDCap will allow you to build the instruments only once and then assign them to multiple events. On occasion, it’s possible to collect repeated data using the classic database format. If you’re unsure how best to configure your project, come see us in the CRU!

How do I create a multi-page survey? 
If you have many questions to include on your survey, you may want to consider a multi-page setup. Navigate to Online Designer > Survey Settings (instrument must be enabled as Survey) > Question Display Format > One Section per page. Then, on your instrument, you can create page breaks by inserting section headers where you would like those breaks to occur. A section header can be inserted using the field type “Begin New Section”.

I entered data in Development mode. Can I keep it when I go to Production mode?
Yes. When submitting the request to move to Production, check off the “Keep ALL data saved so far” button.

How do I delete a record?  
First, assess whether you should truly be deleting the record. Records should typically only be deleted if they were entered in error or duplicate. If you truly need to delete a record, first make sure that you have “Delete Records” permissions on the User Rights page. Once granted, you will see deletion options appear at the bottom of the record. To delete the entire record, click “Delete Record (All Forms)”. To delete just the data that exists on the form (i.e. erase data from all fields), click “Delete data from THIS FORM only”. In a longitudinal project you will also see the option to “Delete all data for THIS EVENT only”. Be very careful when deleting data as this process is IRREVERSIBLE. 
If you need to delete a survey response,  note that you will also need permissions to “Edit Survey Responses” (granted via User Rights page). Before deleting a survey response, click “Edit Response” at the top of the screen. This will make the survey editable and will also make the record deletion options become available. 

How do I describe REDCap in my Research Ethics Board Application?
REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based application designed exclusively to support data capture for research studies. REDCap provides: 1) an intuitive interface for data entry (with data validation); 2) 128 bit encryption between the data entry client and the server (https); 3) audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures; 4) automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to common statistical packages (SPSS, SAS, Stata, R); 5) procedures for importing data from external sources; and 6) advanced features, such as branching logic and calculated fields.

REDCap is developed and maintained by a team at Vanderbilt University and licensed free of charge by the Research Institute at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The application and data are housed on servers provided by CHEO. These servers are located within CHEO’s secure data centre. The data centre is physically secured through limited badge access and security cameras. Local support for REDcap is provided by CHEO’s Clinical Research Unit.

Please cite the publication below in study manuscripts using REDCap for data collection and management. The REDCap consortium and CHEO RI recommend the following boilerplate language:

Study data were collected and managed using REDCap1electronic data capture tools hosted and supported by the CHEO Research Institute. REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based application designed to support data capture for research studies, providing: 1) an intuitive interface for validated data entry; 2) audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures; 3) automated export procedures for seamless data downloads to common statistical packages; and 4) procedures for importing data from external sources.

1 Paul A. Harris, Robert Taylor, Robert Thielke, Jonathon Payne, Nathaniel Gonzalez, Jose G. Conde, Research electronic data capture (REDCap) – A metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support, J Biomed Inform. 2009 Apr;42(2):377-81.

Additional information about system security can be obtained by e-mailing [email protected].  

Have a question you think should be added to the FAQ? Let us know!  

REDCap Training Centre

First time building a REDCap Project? Start here: REDCap Overview *** (24 minutes) – Custom CHEO Video!

Supplemental Videos: 

***Note! Videos marked with *** will play on youtube. Adjust the quality settings to 720p or 1080p (if available) for best resolution.