Toolbox

REDCap FAQs

About Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap)

1. Is REDCap right for me?

REDCap is suitable for research projects with low- to medium-complexity data collection requirements. If you are using spreadsheets or Microsoft Access for data collection, you can convert to REDCap with limited effort and take advantage of many features available in REDCap that are not available in Microsoft Excel and Access.


2. How do I request REDCap? 

When you request LA CaTS services, check off REDCap Services in the Biomedical Informatics (BMI) Core.


3. What types of REDCap projects can be created?

  • Classic Database (one event)
  • Surveys (will generate a survey URL)
  • Longitudinal Database (Repeating Forms)

4. If I enter my project data into REDCap, where are the data actually stored?

The data resides on a secured enterprise server behind the Pennington Biomedical Research Center firewall.


5. Can anyone outside of my project team access my project data that are stored in REDCap?

Nobody other than the members of the REDCap Administrative Team and the Project Team are given access to project data unless requested by the Principal Investigator or Project Leader.


6. If I plan to use REDCap, does my IRB application for my research project need to specify REDCap? If so, what should be said in the IRB application about REDCap data storage and security?

Yes, your IRB application should specify the use of REDCap. The LA CaTS Biomedical Informatics Core can help you with the appropriate descriptions covering data storage and security.


7. If my project requires both gathering original data and using data from existing electronic sources, such as an electronic medical record (EMR), how can I combine the data? Will REDCap help me do that?

There are several ways data from multiple sources can be handled. Usually, the easiest and best way is to use REDCap to enter and store data that are original to the project, but extract any needed existing electronic data from its original source; e.g., extract from an EMR. (The LA CaTS BMI Core can help you arrange for such extracts.) In the project’s analytic phase, the data stored in REDCap can be easily extracted from REDCap and merged with the data extracted from an EMR or other source.


8. Will the biostatisticians and others conducting analysis for my project use REDCap directly for analysis?

No, REDCap is a data capture tool only.  For analysis, the best approach is to extract all project data from REDCap (which can be done easily) and provide that data to your project’s analysis team. The analysts then conduct analyses using the software of their choice, usually a statistical package. REDCap will export data directly into SAS, Stata, SPSS, and R data file formats.


9. Will the REDCap Administrative Group also provide data management (i.e. program & run reports, program & run data validations) while my project is ongoing?

No, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator.  It is recommended that a project team member be assigned to run periodic reports and validations on the data.  REDCap offers an intuitive data quality module that can be set-up and executed by the assigned project team member. 


10. How do I add a new user to my project?

At the start of a Project, a User Matrix will be completed by the Project Leader.  The User Matrix outlines the users and their roles in the project. 
Following the initial User set-up in REDCap, the Project Leader will need to contact the REDCap Administrator to add a new user.   


11. What happens to my REDCap project data when data analysis is complete?

At the time of study closeout or when it is determined that the data analysis is complete, the REDCap Project owner or REDCap Administrator may move the project into ‘archive’ mode.  This will take the project offline, and users will no longer be able to edit the data.
This step prevents further data acquisition but preserves all data for any later export or analysis. The project can be brought back online at any time by the REDCap Administrator after being archived.


12. How long will the data reside in REDCap?

The data will reside in REDCap indefinitely or until the investigator wants the data removed.  If the center decides to discontinue or replace REDCap, we would notify all project owners and devise a plan that would allow ample time for owners to export their data.


13. How can I learn more about using REDCap?

LA CaTS offers REDCap seminars and webinars. To view the webinar and seminar schedule, go to the LA CaTS website (www.LA CaTS.pbrc.edu) and click on the “schedule of events” tab at the top of the LA CaTS home page. Vanderbilt also offers web-based REDCap training. For training via Vanderbilt, go to (www.project-redcap.org) and click on the “video resources” tab.