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What is REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture)

  1. REDCap is a secure, web-based application for building and managing online surveys and databases.
  2. REDCap is metadata-driven software, which relies upon a unique metadata - gathering methodology.

What REDCap provides

  1. A simplified methodology for building web application databases quickly and easily
  2. Application Tools for exporting, importing, and evaluating the project data.
  3. New features, that are based on the user's needs, are always in the development

Access Redcap

  1. Web address is
  2. Use University CIS login (uNID/password) credentials to login. Enter your first name, last name and email address. 

Request New Project

The project request will be reviewed by a REDCap administrator, after which you will be notified via email when the project has been created.


How to Build Instruments


Online Designer

It allows you to make project modifications to fields and data collection instruments.

First Field on the First Form

The first variable listed in your project is the unique identifier, which links all your data.

Field Type

Specifying the field type determines what types of responses are allowed, and how they will be displayed. It is required


- single-line text box (for text, dates, numbers, etc.)


- large text box for lots of text


- dropdown menu with options – single choice


- radio buttons with options – single choice


- checkboxes to allow selection of more than one option – multiple selections


- upload a document


- perform real-time calculations


- select query statement to populate dropdown choices


- text displayed with no data entry and optional image/file attachment


- visual analogue scale


- radio buttons with yes and no options; coded as 1, Yes | 0, No


- radio buttons with true and false options; coded as 1, True | 0, False


Variable Name

  1. Specify the variable name that will be used in reporting, data export, and data analysis. Variable names may contain letters, numbers, and underscores, but no spaces or special characters. It must be unique within a project.
  2. Enable auto variable naming choice - It is best to leave auto naming disabled so that you may define your own variable names manually.

Data Validation

Used for data validation for TEXT fields


- (2008-12-31)


- (12-31-2008)


- (31-12-2008)


- (19:30, 04:15) - Military time


- (2011-02-16 17:45)


- (02-16-2011 17:45)


- (16-02-2011 17:45)


- (2011-02-16 17:45:23)


- (02-16-2011 17:45:23)


- (16-02-2011 17:45:23)


- (615-322-2222)*


- (


- (1.3, 22, -6.28) a general number


- (1, 4, -10) whole number with no decimal


- (37212, 90210) 5-digit zipcode

Field Note

Provide information to assist in data entry.

Calculated Field

  1. Make real time calculations on data entry forms
  2. The variable name can be used as variables in the equation, but you must place [] around each variable.

Branch Logic

  1. Branching Logic may be employed when fields in the database need to be hidden during certain circumstances based on question responses.
  2. For basic branching, drag and drop field name as needed in the Branching Logic dialog box.

Data Dictionary

  1. It is a specifically formatted spreadsheet in CSV (comma separated value format).
  2. It contains metadata used to construct data collection instruments and fields.
  3. It is offline method for designing instrument or survey questions in redcap.

Column A - Variable/Field Name

  1. It is required.
  2. It should start with a letter, it must be lowercase and may contain only letters, numbers, or underscore
  3. It cannot be duplicated and it cannot be repeated within a database, even in different forms.
  4. Remember that if you change a variable name in one place, you must change it everywhere it is used, e.g. calculations, branching logic.

Column B - Form Name

  1. It is required.
  2. Form names correspond to individual data entry forms and survey title.
  3. Form names must be all lower case in spreadsheet, but will be displayed in REDCap with initial capitals.
  4. If form name contains more than one word, connect the words with an underscore. The underscore will appear as a space in REDCap.
  5. All variables in a form must be in adjacent rows in the data dictionary. Variables will appear on the form in the order they appear in the data dictionary.

Column C - Section Header

  1. It is Optional.
  2. It is used to visually separate items within a form.
  3. The field type for this in the Online Design is Begin New Section (Section Header with descriptive Text).

Column D - Field Type

  1. It is required.
  2. It determines what types of responses are allowed, and how they will be displayed.
  3. It includes: text, notes, dropdown, checkbox, radio button, slider, calculated field, file, yes/no...
  4. Calculated field display the result of a calculation based on responses to previous variables. Data cannot be entered in calculated field.

Column E - Field Label

  1. It is recommended. If there is no value for this, REDCap will generate warning when you upload the data dictionary.
  2. It is displayed on the form and provides more information to the reader.

Column F - Choices, Calculations, OR Slider Labels

  1. It is required if the field type is dropdown, radio, checkbox, calculated field and recommended for the slider data type.
  2. The choice includes number and descriptive text, connect the choices with |. The descriptive text will be displayed on the form.
  3. Calculation equation is stored in the column. The variable/field names can be used as variables in the equation, but you must place [] around each variable.

Column G - Field Note

  1. It is optional.
  2. It is used to provide information to assist in data entry.

Column H - Text Validation Type OR Show Slider Number

  1. It is optional.
  2. Data validation types for text field are: date (date_ymd, date_mdy, date_dmy, ...), time (dateime_ymd, datetime_seconds_ymd...), phone, email, number, integer, zipcode. An error message is displayed if an entry does not match expected format.
  3. For slider fields, specify whether to display or hide the value (1-100) selected on the slide. If you want to display the value (1-100), enter number in that cell.

Column I - Text Validation Min

  1. It is optional.
  2. Specify the minimum acceptable values for the text validation.  An error message, including the acceptable range, is displayed if the entry is out of range.

Column J - Text Validation Max

  1. It is optional.
  2. Specify the maximum acceptable values for the text validation.  An error message, including the acceptable range, is displayed if the entry is out of range.

Column K - Identifier

  1. It is optional.
  2. When you indicate a variable as an identifier, you have the option to "de-identify" your data on data exports.
  3. Identifier can be checked several places.

To be HIPAA - compliant there are 18 types of the information that are considered identifiers (also called protected health information, or PHI). 


Name (first name, last name, middle name)


Fax number


Phone number


E-mail address


Account numbers


Social Security number


Medical Record number


Health Plan number


Certificate/license numbers




IP address


Vehicle identifiers


Device ID


Biometric ID


Full face/identifying photo


Other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code


Postal address (geographic subdivisions smaller than state)


Date precision beyond year

Column L - Branching Logic

  1. It is optional.
  2. It is applied to a field to specify whether or not it will be displayed, depending on values in previous fields.

Column M - Required Field

  1. It is optional.
  2. If the field is required, enter y in that cell. Otherwise leave it as blank.
  3. Note: required fields only display a warning they do not actually require data entry.

Column N - Custom Alignment

  1. It is optional.
  2. It determines the alignment/orientation of fields. The default setting, if it is blank, is Right/Vertical.
  3. The codes for other settings are RH- right horizontal, LV-left vertical, and LH-left horizontal.

Column O - Question Number (surveys only)

  1. It is optional.
  2. REDCap can be set to auto-number questions on a survey. However, if you want a custom numbering scheme, you can specify each question number here.
  3. If there is the branch logic in the project the auto-number will be disabled.

Column P – Matrix Group Name

It is only for Matrix Field Type

Data Dictionary Codebook

  • The codebook displays a human-readable version of the project's Data Dictionary.
  • It serves as a quick reference for viewing the attributes of any given field in the project without having to download and interpret the Data Dictionary.
  • Checkbox fields have their coded values displayed both in the format defined by users in the Online Designer/Data Dictionary as well as in the extended format seen in data imports and exports (i.e., field___code).


Shared Library

What is the REDCap Shared Library?

  1. It is a global repository for REDCap data collection instruments that can be downloaded and used in REDCap projects.
  2. It consists of standardized assessment instruments and the content can be used by REDCap users for research and non-commercial purpose.

How to Use the Shared Library

  1. Click the Download a new instrument from the REDCap Shared Library at Online Designer tab or click REDCap Shared Library button under Design your data collection instruments

  2. Check the Shared Content Agreement.
  3. Import the instrument from the Shared Library to your project.


Once the instrument is enabled as a survey, study participants can enter their responses WITHOUT any REDCap login required.

Enable Surveys

  1. Project level

  2. Instrument level


Survey Settings and Notifications

All survey-related actions/settings are under the Online Designer, which allows each survey to be managed separately and individually.

Survey Notifications

REDCap users can be notified via email every time a participant completes a survey.

Survey Settings

  1. Survey Status – Survey Active and Survey Offline
  2. Basic Survey Options: Survey Title, Survey Instructions
  3. Survey Design Options: Logo, Enhanced radio buttons and checkboxes, Size of survey text, Font of survey text, and Survey theme
  4. Survey Customizations: Question Display Format, Text-To-Speech functionality
  5. Survey Access: Survey Expiration and Save & Return Later option
  6. Survey Termination Options

Public Survey Link

Responses will be collected anonymously unless the survey contains questions asking for identifying data from the participant.

Participant List

  1. Build a participant list and send a customized email to anyone in the list
  2. If providing a record identifier for each participant, it is possible to identify an individual's survey answers.


Longitudinal Project

Enable Longitudinal Project



  1. Purpose - use the data collection instruments multiple times for any given project record.
  2. Define the event - provide an event name, the days offset and edit the offset range to add a new event.
  3. Designate Instruments for the Event - assign the instruments that you wish to use for each event. It creates linkages between events and data entry forms.


User Rights

User Roles

User roles can now be created in projects in order to group users according to their specific role in the project.

Grant and Edit User Rights

Add new users to the project

  • There are two ways to add new users – add with custom rights and assign the users to role.
  • If the user has University uNID/password credentials, enter the user's uNID as user name. 

Edit user rights

Set the rights for the user and restrict the user from viewing certain forms.


REDCap Resources

Training Videos

Login to REDCap and click Training Videos tab


User Guide


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