REDCap is a secure web application used to build and manage online surveys and databases. REDCap can collect any type of data and is specifically geared to support research studies. The REDCap Consortium is a composed of over 1,500 institutional partners in 92 countries.
The Center for Clinical and Translational Research, VCU Technology Services, and VCU Health Systems have collaborated to make REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) available to the VCU community. REDCap is easy to use, a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases. REDCap is ideal for collecting and storing data for projects ranging from simple online surveys to longitudinal event-driven research studies. For a complete description, please visit the Project REDCap web site.
Two videos provide an overview of using the REDCap system:
Three videos for working with surveys in REDCap:
Off-campus access to REDCap requires using the RamsVPN.
VCU units who use REDCap are asked (but not required) to designate a REDCap Liaison to provide local support in each area (see below).
It is the user's responsibility to comply with all VCU policies and guidelines. If you are collecting data for human subjects research, review and approval of the project are required by your Institutional Review Board.
REDCap software is licensed through the REDCap Consortium. VCU is a member of the REDCap Consortium. The REDCap Consortium is comprised of institutional partners representing Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) institutions, Clinical Research Centers, Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI), among other research-oriented facilities around the world. REDCap software is available at no charge to Consortium Partners.
REDCap software hosted at VCU may only be used for University or VCUHS research or operational support.
All current faculty, staff, students and affiliates can log in to REDCap, using their VCU eID and password. The first time you log in to REDCap, an account is established for you in the REDCap system.
There are two types of REDCap accounts:
Note: If someone has never (yet) logged in to REDCap, they cannot be granted access to a REDCap project, since they are not yet known to the REDCap system.
The basic entity in REDCap is the project.
VCU faculty and staff members are allowed to create projects. VCU students and affiliates are not allowed to do so; they must request a faculty/staff member to create projects for them and then grant them access to the projects (if desired, the faculty/staff member may then remove their own access to those projects).
If desired, you can allow other REDCap users to access any of your projects (those persons must have previously logged in to REDCap at least once, so that they are known to the REDCap system). You control exactly what privileges they will have within the project, such as entering data, creating reports, etc. The logging facility within REDCap provides an audit trail, which records every activity and change within a project, who performed it, and when.
REDCap supports two types of projects, known as classic and longitudinal:
In a REDCap project, data is entered via data collection instruments. A project can have multiple data collection instruments. There are two types, known as data entry forms and surveys:
A data collection instrument is comprised of fields, also called questions. A variety of field types is available. They include text box (with auto-validation), comment box, radio button and drop-down list (for multiple choice, single answer), check box (for multiple choice, multiple answer), slider bar, file upload and download, matrix (for multiple choice fields sharing the same answers), and calculated field (to display calculated results based on other fields). Branching and stop-action facilities are available to allow inapplicable fields to be skipped. A data piping facility is available to customize fields and survey invitations, based on data collected in other fields.
If a field contains sensitive information, you can mark the field as an identifier. After that, when you perform certain actions within REDCap, such as exporting your data or granting other users access to your project's data, you will be able to exclude or restrict the availability of those fields, if desired.
Fields for data collection instruments are created and edited using an intuitive online designer facility. Advanced users may also download a project's data dictionary file, which contains a complete description of every field in the project. The file may then be modified as desired using a program such as MS Excel, and then uploaded back into REDCap to update your project with those changes. This facility is very handy for certain actions, such as making duplicates of a field, and it provides a means of local backup for your project's fields.
Collected data may be viewed online at REDCap, either one record at a time or in reports and graphs. Data may be easily exported to MS Excel or to common statistical analysis packages (SPSS, SAS, R, Stata). Data may also be imported into a project from CSV files, such as those created by MS Excel.
While the use of REDCap is free to members of the VCU community, each organizational entity (e.g. school, department, center, institute, etc.) is asked (but not required) to designate a REDCap liaison (or liaisons), who shall function as the primary point-of-contact for REDCap related support for users in that organization. REDCap users in organizations with liaisons will, therefore, have more readily available user support. Liaisons must be current VCU faculty/staff.
REDCap Liaison - Primary Responsibilities
The REDCap liaisons should become familiar with the REDCap component(s) that they are supporting (see next section), so that they may provide user support to those developing REDCap projects within their organization. REDCap software is very intuitive and does not require sophisticated technical expertise to design and develop a custom database or survey tools. REDCap liaisons need not be IT (information technology) personnel; however, liaisons should have strong computer skills. Liaisons may contact the VCU REDCap Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly to request technical assistance with problems beyond their expertise.
REDCap Liaison - Signup
The VCU REDCap Team and the REDCap Consortium have developed a host of learning resources for REDCap:
Several means are available for obtaining assistance with accessing and using REDCap:
All users who obtain access to REDCap will be automatically subscribed to the REDCAP-L mailing list. This mailing list is local to VCU and is intended to foster communication among the REDCap users at VCU. Members may post messages to the list if they have questions, answers, or suggestions about using the REDCap system. Posted messages will be emailed to all subscribers of the list.
As noted, all account holders are automatically subscribed to these lists (subscriptions are limited to account holders, only). To unsubscribe from this list:
Please, email inquiries to the VCU REDCap Team.