skip to main content

General

Email redcap-admin@illinois.edu at any time and a member of the IHSI REDCap team will respond within 1-3 business days. You can also check our events calendar for upcoming office hours and workshops.

You can include the following paragraph in a grant or IRB application. Ensure your user rights and data access match what this paragraph specifies when using REDcap:

Study data will be collected in REDCap, a web-based survey and database-building platform that is capable of HIPAA-compliant research. Illinois REDCap uses a MySQL database located in a HIPAA-compliant Amazon Web Services environment. REDCap includes a variety of features for ensuring data protection, such as activity logging, user-based access privileges at the project level, and integration with the University of Illinois’ single sign-on technology. Access to study data will be restricted to members of the research team, and user rights will be based on minimum necessary standards.

This document also provides more information about referencing REDCap in your Illinois OPRS IRB application. 

Any publication that results from a project utilizing REDCap should use the following citation:

Study data were collected and managed using REDCap1 electronic data capture tools hosted at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with the support of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute and Research IT – Technology Services. 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.

1Paul A. Harris, Robert Taylor, Robert Thielke, Jonathan 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.

User Access

REDCap is free to access and use! 

We do offer project build services for an hourly fee. When the project build services are contracted, the IHSI REDCap team will build and test the project according to the client’s specifications, then release it back to the users for active data collection. 

Everyone needs to complete the University of Illinois systemwide HIPAA training prior to receiving REDCap access. If you have completed this training within the past year, you can upload your completion certificate when you submit the User Request Form. If you have not completed the training, the IHSI REDCap team will provide you with instructions for how to access it when you submit the user request form.

Users should also watch the introductory videos about basic REDCap functions before using REDCap.

Yes, external collaborators can get access to Illinois REDCap. Because Illinois REDCap uses Shibboleth sign-on technology, external collaborators need to get the following credentials: 

Once the above credentials are obtained by an external collaborator, they can complete the Illinois REDCap User Request form. 

When you are in the project, click the “User Rights” link on the left-hand menu underneath “Applications.” Here, you can add a user with custom rights, create a role with a suite of rights, and add someone to an existing role. A few things to note:

  • If you do not have the “User Rights” link under applications, it means you do not have the privilege to add users to the project.
  • Users have to be added with their @illinois.edu email address.
  • If you start typing someone’s name or email address and REDCap does not suggest them as a potential user, that means that person does not have an activated Illinois REDCap account. 

This document provides additional information about user rights. 

Building a Project

Identifiers are any piece of information about a person that can be used uniquely or in conjunction with another piece of data to identify a participant, such as name, birthdate, address, etc. We use the list of eighteen HIPAA identifiers as a baseline.

Marking a variable as an identifier is important for two reasons:

  • Fields marked as identifiers are stored and logged differently in the backend of REDCap to maintain data security.
  • Data can easily be exported without identifiers by clicking “Remove all tagged Identifier fields” in the data export module.

On Online Designer, there is a column called “View PDF.” You can click on the PDF symbol next to the instrument(s) you need to download.

When you have a record or test record in your project, you can go onto any form for any record, click the dropdown that says “Download PDF of instrument(s),” and select “All forms/surveys (blank)” to export one PDF that contains all data collection instruments.

A data entry form is an instrument that has not been enabled as a survey. Data must be entered into it by a REDCap user logged into their account.

A survey is an instrument that has survey features enabled for it. The survey is completed after a participant clicks on a survey link posted somewhere online or sent to them via email. They do not need to be logged into REDCap to complete a survey.

When deciding if something should be enabled as a survey or left as a data entry form, consider who will be completing the form. 

Data Collection

REDCap can be used for collecting data through surveys and/or data entry forms. It is best suited for small to medium-sized projects.

Illinois REDCap is open to any data collection efforts, including research, quality improvement, or operational support, as long as it is related to University of Illinois business.

Moving a project from development to production adds extra layers of protection to ensure data accuracy and integrity is maintained. When in development mode, REDCap expects the user to make frequent and often dramatic changes while building and testing the project. When a project is moved to production, REDCap will add extra checks when changes are requested to ensure any data that has already been collected is not accidentally deleted or invalidated.

This document has more information about how to move a project to production.

When you move your project to production, there is an option to keep or delete all data in the project. Alternatively, you can go to the “Other Functionality” tab and select “Erase all data” at any point in the project’s lifecycle. If you do not have the “Other Functionality” tab or the ability to erase data form it, you were not granted the user privileges that allow you to take those actions. 

Yes, to make changes to a project that is in production, you can move the project into draft mode on the Online Designer page to make the necessary changes. The changes will not happen in real time, and you will need to submit the changes for review before they are applied to the project. Sometimes, changes will be made immediately, and other times they will need to be reviewed by a member of the IHSI REDCap team. 

This document provides more information about making changes to projects in production.

Delaying in project changes when a project is in production is a check REDCap has in place to ensure existing data is not deleted or invalidated. Changes must be submitted and approved before they are active in the project. Some changes may need review from a member of the IHSI REDCap team, while other changes may be automatically approved by the REDCap software.  

This document provides more information about making changes to projects in production.

To import data, go to the “Data Import Tool” link under “Applications” in the left-hand menu. You will download an import template, map your existing data onto the import template, than upload the file to REDCap. If you do not have the “Data Import Tool” link under “Applications”, you were not granted the rights that allow data import.

This document provides more information about importing data. 

To export data, go to the “Data Exports, Reports, and Stats” link under “Applications” in the left-hand menu. From there, you can export the full dataset or data in any reports you have created. Data can be exported into Microsoft Excel, SPSS, SAS, R, or Stata. If you do not have the “Data Exports, Reports, and Stats” link under “Applications”, you were not granted the rights that allow data export.

When exporting data, you should only export the data you need. To best accomplish this, create a report of the necessary data and export that report. Avoid exporting identifiers whenever possible by excluding them from your report or selecting the “Remove all tagged Identifier fields” before exporting data. 

Exported data should always be saved in a secure location. Consult with your unit’s IT support to know what the best options are for you. 

The Illinois REDCap server is on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) rather than Central time. UTC is either five or six hours ahead of Central time, depending on Daylight Savings. This time converter may be helpful when setting up Automatic Survey Invitations and survey deadlines.