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REDCap User Guides

These guides outline best practices and procedures for project and user management in REDCap.

The REDCap user guides are also available for download in the left side bar.

User Management

1. Fill out the New User Spreadsheet template.

  • To add new users to existing REDCap projects, please download and complete a New User Spreadsheet.

2. Request new user accounts through the current REDCap project manager.

  • Email the completed New User Spreadsheet as an attachment to lib-research-data@umd.edu.
  • Only current REDCap project managers, supervisors, or PIs should request and sponsor new user accounts.
  • New users CANNOT request accounts themselves.

3. Use an @umd or @terpmail.umd address for new accounts.

  • All users are required to use an '@umd' or '@terpmail.umd' email address as a primary account email.
  • Additional email addresses can be added to an account for use in sending survey invitations and communicating with participants, but these addresses are never used for Libraries communications from the REDCap system.

4. Have new users complete the Terms of Use Agreement (for users creating new projects) OR the End User Agreement (for users who will be added to existing projects).

  • This must be done prior to account creation.
  • By default, all users are directed to complete the End User Agreement; new accounts will not have the ability to create new projects. The individual requesting a new account should indicate when submitting the new user account template that the new account should have project creation rights.

5. Add the new user account to an existing project in REDCap.

  • Once a user account has been created, it must be added to an existing project by a user with current access to the User Rights application for that project.

User Rights application

Sponsor Dashboard

User Access Dashboard

Lists all users by project. Information includes:

  • Project status (Development, Production, Inactive, Archived)
  • Number of users
  • Number of API tokens
  • Last user activity within a project
  • Remove user from project controls
  • User access expiration controls

1. All REDCap projects for your lab should be created by users with supervisory roles or designated project managers. All new projects should have a lab manager, project manager, and/or PI user added to the project.

  • The creator of a project is by default the owner and will have access to both the Project Design and User Rights applications.
  • Non-supervisory users SHOULD NEVER have access to the User Rights application; such access will allow users to alter access rights of themselves and any other users.

2. Automatic access expiration dates should be set for fixed-term users.

  • Student workers, graduate assistants, or other fixed-term employees should have an automatic expiration date set on their account and projects.
  • Expiration dates will not delete a user account or remove a user from a project, and a suspended/expired user account can easily be reinstated. However, setting expiration dates on a user account prevents unauthorized access to projects and data.

3. Project managers should set project user rights through the “Create New Roles” function.

  • The lab manager, project manager, or PI should establish or delegate the creation of user roles within each project.
  • User roles should assume a ‘less is better’ approach to data access and project editing privileges.
  • User roles allow privileges to be set by job title/role ‘in bulk’ as opposed to manually adjusting each user’s access individually. This streamlines onboarding and offboarding procedures and prevents the loss of access to certain features when an individual is removed from a project.

User Rights application

Highest level privileges:

Highest level privileges:

Privileges from data exports (including PDFs and API exports), reports, and stats:

Privileges from data exports (including PDFs and API exports), reports, and stats:

Other privileges:

Other privileges:

Settings pertaining to the REDCap Mobile App:

Settings pertaining to the REDCap Mobile App

Settings pertaining to project records:

Settings pertaining to project records

Settings pertaining to record locking and E-signatures:

Settings pertaining to record locking and E-signatures

Data Entry Rights:

Data Entry Rights

Project Lifecycle

1. Define project purpose within the Project Description.

  • All projects supporting research should have their purpose set accordingly in the Purpose of this project field.

Create New Project

2. List PI and IRB contact information.

  • All projects with purpose listed as ‘research’ should have the PI contact information listed and the current IRB number.

PI and IRB info

3. Project creators should always add the lab/project manager as users to new projects.

  • All projects should be created with at least two users added: the creator and the lab/project manager.
  • See *User Access Procedures and the *User Rights Dictionary for more information on efficiently adding users and assigning appropriate rights.

4. Test a new project BEFORE moving it from Development Mode to Production Mode.

  • Projects should remain in Development Mode until instruments, branching logic, and other features are fully tested.
  • Once in production mode, data integrity protocols prevent users from making changes to project structures outside of draft mode without administrator review.
    • This prevents accidental data loss when changes are made to projects in Production Mode.

Notice warning users moving a project to production mode

5. Only input real data into projects that are in Production Mode.

  • Projects for which real data are being collected should always be moved to Production Mode prior to actual data collection or survey deployment.

6. Projects for which data collection has ended should be moved to Inactive Mode.

  • Only users with project design rights may move a project to Inactive Mode under the ‘Other Functionality’ tab -> ‘Project Management’.
  • See project Mode definitions for more information.

7. Projects for which access to data and project files is no longer required should be moved to Archived Mode.

  • Only users with project design rights may move a project to Archived Mode under the ‘Other Functionality’ tab -> ‘Project Management’.
  • See project Mode definitions for more information.

Development Mode

Development Mode is for project design and testing. Once a project is moved from Development Mode to Production Mode, all changes must be approved by a REDCap administrator to prevent the loss of data.

Production Mode

Production Mode is for real data collection. Changes to the project structure, including variable names, adding new instruments and variables, altering question choices, fixing typos, or changing choice codes are not applied in real time. Project changes occur in Draft Mode and are subject to review and approval by a system administrator.

Move project to Production Mode

Inactive Mode

Inactive Mode is for an active project for which no data collection activities are being performed. This mode automatically closes survey access to prevent unintentional/late responses from being collected.

Move project to Inactive Mode

Archived Mode

Archived Mode is for fulfilling post-project data retention requirements using the REDCap system. Projects in this mode are hidden from the active project list by default (but viewable on demand).

Move project to Archive Mode

REDCap allows for data to be exported in a variety of formats to expedite data processing and analysis. Data can be exported for the entire project or for selected instrument(s). Data export features are accessible through the Data Exports, Reports, and Stats application located in the left-hand menu.

Note:

  • To export data at the project level follow step 3a.
  • To export data by selected instrument(s) follow step 3b.

3a. If Exporting Data at Project Level:

  • Under the All Data section, click the 'Export Data' button

My reports and exports - export data

3b. If Exporting Data by Selected Instrument(s):

  • Under the Selected Instruments section, select the ‘Make custom selections’ button

My reports and exports - Selected Instruments

  • Click on the text label for each instrument to be included in the export and then click the 'Export data' button

Instruments selected for data export

4. In the Exporting pop up, set the appropriate deidentification options and select the desired file format.

  • Pop up if exporting data at project level

Exporting all data pop up menu

  • Pop up if exporting data by selected instrument(s)

Exporting "selected instruments" pop up menu

Complete project exports can be created for the purposes of sharing a REDCap project with an external collaborator or archiving. By default, REDCap projects should be set to either inactive status or archived status within the REDCap application and scheduled for deletion with a REDCap administrator according to the University of Maryland Records Retention Schedule.

REDCap allows for two types of project-level backups:

1) Metadata only: The XML file will contain all project attributes, instruments, and fields, but will not contain records or audit logs.

2) Metadata and data: The XML file will contain all project attributes, instruments, fields, and records, but will not include audit information. Downloading and storing metadata and data XML backups is only recommended for projects containing deidentified data or for research groups with access to storage systems rated to appropriately handle sensitive or restricted data (please refer to the University of Maryland Data Classification Standards).

A copy of a REDCap project can also be created directly within the system to prevent downloading sensitive information or to duplicate a project structure for re-use in another project.

Note:

  • To download project backups, follow step 4a.
  • To make a copy of a project within the REDCap system, follow steps 4b-7b.

4a. Under the Copy or Back Up the Project section:

- click the ‘Download metadata only (XML)’ to download a copy without data
-OR-
- click the ‘Download metadata & data (XML)’ to download a copy with individual records*


*Choosing to download copy of metadata and data will open a new window with de-identification options. Be ADVISED that choosing to ‘Remove All Tagged Identifiers’ will only de-identify fields that have been explicitly marked as identifiers during the project design phase. Choosing to ‘Remove Unvalidated Text Fields’ will strip all free-text from the project except for text fields that have been explicitly defined during the project design phase as date, numeric, or integer.

Selecting ‘Remove Unvalidated Text Fields’ will strip all free-text from the project except for text fields that have been explicitly defined during the project design phase as date, numeric, or integer.

A copy of a REDCap project can also be created directly within the system to prevent downloading sensitive information or to duplicate a project structure for re-use in another project.

Download Metadata buttons

REDCap projects should be moved into inactive status once data collection activities
have concluded. Inactive status disables the majority of functionality within a project,
including survey deployment, instrument & record editing, and API/REDCap Mobile access.
In the event that surveys are used, but additional record editing and data entry will
occur, the project may remain in Production mode. However, individual surveys should
be set to Offline.

Survey Deactivation: Surveys may be deactivated in bulk in Project Setup or
individually in the Online Designer.

Note:

  • To disable all surveys within a project, follow steps 3a-4a.
  • To disable surveys individually using the Online Designer, follow steps 3b-7b.

Once all data collection and data entry activities have concluded, projects should be moved to Inactive Status. Alternatively, a project can be moved to Archived Status which will set the project to inactive status in addition to hiding the project from normal view under My Projects. This option is recommended for retaining project files and data for records retention compliance once all data and project backup files have been exported.