Clicking on “User Rights” in the toolbar on the left will bring you to a screen displaying the current users on the project, and the rights to which they have access. You may also add new users to your project with customized rights, or create “roles” (such as P.I., Data Manager, or Statistician) with specific rights so that you may assign new users to a role right away. For research teams of 4 or more people, creating roles is recommended.
Being able to customize the access that individuals have to your project ensures that specific roles are going to be maintained, even if any breaches would be accidental.
[TIPS AND TRICKS]: For multi-site studies and other special situations, it may be advantageous to have entire groups of users blinded to entire sets of records. Utilizing the “Data Access Groups” (DAGs) tool is the easiest way to accomplish this. Once the DAGs are created, you may only see records that have been created by another member of your DAG. This tightens security and prevents data overlap.
By clicking the “Logging” tool in the left-side toolbar, you can view the entire audit trail throughout the life of the project. Each event’s category and specific change is listed along with the time/date and user’s username. The logging box is easily filterable, and can even be downloaded to a singular CSV file if need be.
In the Report Builder application accessible from the left-side toolbar, you may view the results of a specific field or fields for all records in your project. The purpose of various reports can be to isolate records, identify groups, study certain demographics of your participant population, and more. Let’s say I want to produce a general demographic report of my participants along with their resting heart rate and BMI. To generate a new report, click the “Report Builder” tool in your left-side menu.
Name your report, and specify the variables you would like to the report to display. You may choose to order the results in a specific manner to make data viewing easier. In this example, I have sorted by professional school, and then within the groups of professional schools, I have sorted by gender. Once you are finished organizing the details, click “Save Report.”
Clicking “View” next to the title of your report after you have saved it will present the current data report (see below). This is updated in real time as your data is collected. You may export your reports to .CSV or .XML format; you may also simply print your report.
NOTE: Please notice the number in parentheses next to certain variable names below. This number represents the encoded value of each multiple-choice variable option, and does NOT represent the number of records with that result.
Let’s say we only want to view records for those enrolled in the UMKC School of Nursing. To do this, we will utilize the “Limiters” in the initial “Create a New Report” page.
You will notice that this time, I have specifically indicated that I want to see only the records where [professional school] = School of Nursing. Below is the result when viewing the report:
Notice that although 10 total records were queried, only 4 records matched our conditions, and thus only 4 are shown.
You may have multiple reports that you would like to generate for your project. This is easily tracked through REDCap. Each report is even given its own shortcut in the Reports Module (which will appear once you have created your first report).
[TIPS AND TRICKS]:
In the Report Builder, filtering/sorting by fields is easiest for fields that are single-answer multiple choice (drop-down, radio buttons, true/false, yes/no).
Each report changes in real time as new data records (or surveys) are created for the project. Once more records are completed, you can go back to the same report and it will update accordingly.
If you are conducting a study for which you already have some partial data, or if you are simply importing data from an additional source, using the Data Import Tool is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this task. First, you will be prompted to download one of two .CSV templates: one arranging separate records into rows, and another into columns. Whichever you choose may depend on how your other data is already arranged, and/or whichever you aesthetically prefer.
Once you have downloaded the template, use a program (generally Excel) to fill in the records, ensuring that the correct variables are slotted into the correct places. Then, on the same Data Import application page, you may re-upload the .CSV file and import your new data records.
NOTE: This section deals with importing data records into your project. For more information on importing your data dictionary (i.e. your data forms), see the Data Dictionary section.
[TIPS AND TRICKS]: For ease of data transfer, ensure that the order of the variables is the same on both your external source and your REDCap data forms.
When accessing the Data Export Tool, you can either choose the “Simple Data Export” or “Advanced Data Export” option. If you only want to export certain fields or forms, or if you want to de-identify the data before exporting, select “Advanced Data Export.” If you wish to export all of the data you have access to, “Simple Data Export” is the best route.
Exporting your data “Raw” will export coded values. For instance, in a yes/no field type, data coded in that column will either be “1” or “0” – not “yes” or “no.” In addition, field titles will be the coded versions of the variable names, rather than the field labels. The “Labeled” data option is precisely the opposite – exporting clear, labeled versions rather than coded values. For efficiency and compatibility with statistical analysis tools, we often recommend exporting raw values.
The Data Export Tool is compatible with many analysis programs: Excel, SPSS, SAS, R, and Stata.
[TIPS AND TRICKS]: Exporting data to programs other than Excel produce syntax files, which are not always the easiest to deal with. Often, exporting to .CSV and then using your preferred statistical analysis program to import the .CSV is the ideal option. If you do choose this option, to ensure you are getting the data precisely the way you want it, be sure to download one of the .CSV files listed next to “Excel” rather than the one listed next to your program of choice.
Beyond Development Mode
Once your project has been created and tested adequately, you may be ready to move to Production mode and begin collecting real data. Allow 48 – 72 hours after requesting for your project to be reviewed and approved for Production. If your study requires IRB approval, your IRB number must be attached to your project before we will approve the project for Production status. For more information on what must be done in Development before moving to Production, see the Development vs Production Modes section.
By default, moving to Production erases all existing practice records, calendar events, and all other associated practice data. It is a very thorough way to flush all of the practice data out of your project before collecting real data, however, it is optional. Once your project is approved for Production, you will receive an e-mail alerting you to its new status. Now, your project is ready for real data to be collected.
Specific Study Designs
In order to utilize the survey features of REDCap, you must have enabled the use of surveys in your “Main project settings” options on your Project Setup home page.
Once this is enabled, a new module in your left-side menu will be available: “Manage Survey Participants.” Upon entering this module for the first time, you will be prompted to enable at least one of your existing data collection forms as a survey. There are many customizable survey settings that you will be prompted to confirm, which you may edit later by clicking the “Survey settings” option next to the form on the front page of your Online Designer.
Once you have enabled a data form as a survey and you have navigated to the Manage Survey Participants module, you will see three tabs: Public Survey Link, Participant List, and Survey Invitation Log.
The Public Survey Link is a singular URL to your survey, which does not track IP addresses, e-mail addresses, or any other identifying information. This means that any person with that survey link can take the survey multiple times if need be. While this is an optimal feature for some surveys, it is not the best option for projects in which we must ensure that no participant has taken the survey more than one time. New records that are created by survey submissions appear in your existing records in auto-numbered order and are labeled only by the date/time of submission.
The Participant List tab will enable you to send out a pool of e-mails to participants from REDCap. Each e-mail will contain a unique URL that is only valid for one submission. To add the e-mail addresses of your participants to the participant list, click “Add participants” and type in the e-mail addresses, one per line. This will only create your pool of participant e-mail addresses; no e-mails have been sent out by the completion of this step. This is in case you would like to send the surveys out in batches rather than all at one time. To actually begin sending out the survey e-mails, click the “Compose Survey Invitations” button.
You may designate the time at which the e-mails are sent out, the subject of the e-mail, any additional content or comments of the e-mail invitation, and the checklist of participants to whom you would like to send the e-mail.
Later, once you return to the Manage Survey Participants module (seen below), you will see the list of participants along with a sent/unsent status regarding the e-mail invitation, and a status checking whether or not the participant has responded. If Participant Identifiers are not enabled, there is no way to link an individual’s e-mail address to a particular record, maintaining survey anonymity. If necessary for your records, you may export the participant list as a .CSV file.
The Survey Invitation Log (not pictured) allows you to sort your participant list with various filters and view some finer details (such as the time at which a survey invitation was sent out to a participant). Individual times at which survey invitations should be sent out (if the invitation to a participant is not already sent) can be modified here.
[TIPS AND TRICKS]:
We do not recommend enabling multiple data collection forms as surveys if all surveys will be sent to all participants. If there is concern about survey length, the best solution is to divide groups of questions into sections with section headers (a field type) in the Online Designer and setting the Question Display Format as “One section per page” in your Survey Settings.
If you have a long list of e-mail addresses separated by some punctuation other than line breaks, using the “Replace” feature (Windows shortcut Ctrl-H) in a program such as Word or Notepad++ will easily fix this formatting so that you can paste the list into REDCap. For instance, if your e-mail addresses are separated by “; ” (semicolon space), in the Replace window of Microsoft Word, simply have the program find “; ” and replace with “^l” (carat lowercase-L). (In Notepad++, line breaks are specified with “\n” rather than “^l”.)
If there is another e-mail address you would like to have the survey e-mails come from (besides the main e-mail address associated with your account), you may click the “From:” drop-down box in the “Compose Survey Invitations” window and add an additional e-mail address to your account. This e-mail address must be verified via a verification e-mail before it can be utilized in this manner.
If a survey contains study-qualifying information in a multiple-choice field, you may choose to end a survey prematurely when certain qualifications are (or are not) met by using the Stop Action icon in the Online Designer (the red stop sign). This will prevent you from gathering unnecessary data, and save time for the survey-taker. For instance, if your question is “What is your role at UMKC?” and you want the survey to continue for everyone who isn’t a student, you may click the Stop Actions icon and select to stop the survey at that point for the “Student” response.
Projects that use a longitudinal design may track records over a series of multiple events. Different data collection forms can be associated with different events; in addition, the same form can be utilized over multiple events. For instance, a Demographics form may only need to be completed at the very first event, while a Lab Results form may be required at each event.
In order to utilize the longitudinal study features of REDCap, you must have enabled the use of longitudinal data collection in your “Main project settings” options on your Project Setup home page.
Once you have enabled the user of longitudinal data collection, a new module will appear in your main Project Setup page so that you may define your events.
When defining your events, be sure to title each event and specify the “Days Offset” from the initial event. You first event’s “Days Offset” should be 0.
This page is also where you are able to define your study’s Arms. If you have multiple treatment groups or multiple sample populations, you may want to utilize this feature. Arms can be custom-named, and do not necessarily need to have the same forms/events as other Arms. This can allow you to easily group/block records. A single record may not belong to more than one Arm.
Once you have defined your events (and Arms, if applicable), you must now designate forms for your events. To do this, click the “Designate Instruments for My Events” tab and “Begin Editing” to assign forms to your defined events. In a longitudinal design, each form must be attached to at least one event. If there are data entry forms which have been created within your project but are not attached to any events whatsoever, your REDCap administrator will assume this is an error and will not approve the project for Production status until it is corrected.
[TIPS AND TRICKS]: See the Calendar/Scheduling section for information on how to automatically add scheduled Events to the Calendar module.
……..Multiple treatment groups (Arms)
When you have multiple treatment groups in your study, there are two primary ways to handle this in REDCap:
- Create a field in your data form which identifies which treatment group the record belongs to and use the Report Builder to organize the data groups accordingly.
- Enable longitudinal data collection methods, even if the study is not longitudinal, so that you may utilize the “Arms” feature. This specific use of the “Arms” feature is discussed below. See the Longitudinal studies section for more general information on Arms.
You can see in this example that we only have one event, meaning that in technical terms, this is not considered an actual longitudinal study. However, we are able to use the Arms feature of the longitudinal design to easily group records. Even in the Manage Survey Participants module, Arms are fully taken into consideration. View the screencaps below for examples of REDCap’s Arm sorting and distinguishing.
Note that when exporting data, it is not possible to export each Arm’s data separately, however, a record’s Arm is listed as the second-column variable (immediately after Record ID), making it very easy to distinguish between the groups and separate the initial .CSV file into multiple files.