CCTS's REDCap Team Tackles Common REDCap Questions

Amy Franco and Hajwa Kim
Post date: 
April 11, 2016


How can I set up REDCap account?

For an account with the ability to create or copy a REDCap project, you must submit a request through the CCTS Service Request page. To access any existing REDCap project without the need to create or copy projects, the request can be directly sent to the REDCap team at . The user’s full name and email address is required.  

I want to let my study staff view and edit my REDCap project. What should I do?

First, check if the staff have their own REDCap account set up at UIC. You can confirm by going into the User Rights section of the project and typing their name into the “Add new user” dialogue box. If they do not have an account, you can request one for them by sending an email to the REDCap team ( with their full name and email address. When they have their REDCap account set up, you can add them to your projects via the User Rights section. Each user can have different levels of access to view/edit forms and records, export data and other features. It is the responsibility of each project owner to set up and manage access rights.

Can non-UIC users administer a survey project in REDCap?

Users with a UIC email address should send and manage survey invitations. ACCC restricts the ability to send email from a non-UIC account to another non-UIC account through their servers, so if a user with a non-UIC account attempts to send out survey invitations they will not go through. Non-UIC users can manage other aspects of the survey project as long as there is a research affiliation with UIC and appropriate IRB approval. 

Why do I have to move my project into production to collect real data?

In development mode, or designing status all modifications made on the data collection forms are applied to the project instantly without reviewing the change results. In contrast, when the project is in production mode the user submits edits to REDCap Administrators for final review to check whether the changes will cause any critical issue with existing data. This prevents inadvertent data deletion or mislabeling.

Can I still add fields or make some changes after my project is moved to production mode?

Yes, form modifications can be made by clicking ‘Enter Draft Mode’ in Online Designer. When the change request is submitted, the draft changes will be reviewed by the REDCap system and the review result will be sent to REDCap administrators. Automatic approval will be made instantly when new fields are added or other modifications are made with no effect on existing data.

What are the recent changes made for the REDCap admin approval procedure?

We have updated the following admin approval procedures to expedite the users’ modification activities in production mode.

  1. Normal users who have the right to design/edit projects can move a project into production without admin approval. The checklist before moving to production is still provided so that the users can make sure the project is ready.
  2. Changes made in draft mode are auto-approved without admin approval if the project has no records OR if only new fields are being added (i.e. no existing fields were modified). Any modification on existing fields will be reviewed by admin and approved manually.
  3. Normal users can add/modify events in production for longitudinal projects. This also includes re-designating any data collection instruments to events on the Designate Instruments for My Events page. It will be same that only REDCap admin can delete events.

What are the de-identification options for REDCap?

Some identifying data such as ID, date of birth and contact info in REDCap data collection form can be either excluded or changed into random values by defining the fields as identifiers. This set up is done in Online Designer or Data Dictionary and needs to be followed in the Data Export Tool. From the Data Export Tool menu, some de-identification options can be selected so that the downloaded data from REDCap server to user’s computer will be de-identified. Another method to hide data within a REDCap project for some users is through the User Rights set up. By form level, each user can have different viewing rights. However, if a user has a viewing right for a form (or instrument) hiding selected fields is not possible.

Can I show the value of a field on a different form?

You can bring an entered field from a different data collection form or different event (for longitudinal projects) and show it on the field label or descriptive text as long as the data is in the same REDCap project. In the field label, simply add the field variable name inside of [].  REDCap refers to this as “piping”. The piping variable should be a text field. See more about piping.

What is the action tag?

By using action tags, a field can be hidden or read-only without affecting the entered records. There are several different action tags that are all followed by @ sign.  In Online Designer à Field Edit à Field annotation, all the available action tags are described in detail.

How can I add pictures to my survey invitation?

You can add any picture accessible from the internet to your survey invitations.Detailed instructions are available from ITHS at University of Washington.

How can I change the arm of existing records?

Basically, deleting the record and creating it again is what you need to do. But, by using Import tool reentering individual fields can be avoided. The following steps are suggested.

  1. Export data and save it for back-up just in case any error occurs.
  2. Delete the record you are moving the arm for from data entry form.
  3. From the exported data delete all the other records except for the one to move the arm, and change the arm for the record.
  4. Download a template from Import Tool
  5. On the template above, attach the exported data created at 3). You should make sure the exported data matches with the template. Save it as csv.
  6. Import the above .csv data.