Introduction to REDCap

Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) is a web application for building and managing surveys and forms in order to collect and analyze data. The service provides the possibility for you as a researcher to collect, manage and report clinical research data in a secure manner.


REDCap – electronic data capture app for clinical research studies

Karolinska Institutet (KI) offers REDCap as an application for secure data capture for clinical research studies to acquire, manage, and report on clinical research data. The service enables real-time and/or offline data collection.

In KI REDCap the data is saved locally at KI servers and is backed up every 24 hours. All network traffic to and from REDCap is encrypted and database access requires user authentication with password. REDCap also provides audit trails for tracking data manipulation and user activity. As a project owner you can invite members of the research team to access your REDCap project and for each member you will be able to assign different levels of access if needed.

For information on how to access REDCap at KI, please visit our webpage on Access to REDCap and project creation/management.

REDCap features

REDCap is most commonly used to create questionnaires or web-based case report forms to collect clinical data. The application contains many features and below you will find a description of the most commonly used ones.

  • Online/Offline project creation - Projects within REDCap can be created using either an online method from your web browser using the Online Designer tool or via an offline method by constructing a ‘data dictionary’ template file in Microsoft Excel, which can later be uploaded to REDCap.
  • Scheduling – The built-in project calendar and scheduling module allows you to organize events and appointments.
  • Advanced Features – When designing your questionnaire/form in REDCap you can use advanced features to adjust your survey according to your needs (e.g., validation, calculations, file uploading and more useful functions).
  • Save data collection instruments as a PDF – Surveys or forms can be printed as PDFs so that data may be collected offline if necessary.
  • Easily manage a contact list of survey respondents or create a simple survey link – By using REDCap's survey tools, a user can collect anonymous responses or track and identify responses from survey participants by:
    • sending a survey link via email
    • entering data manually, and/or
    • posting a link on their website
  • Mobile App – REDCap users can collect their data via the REDCap Mobile App on an Android or iOS tablet or mobile device. The data can be collected in an offline mode on that device and may later be synced back to the REDCap project on the online server.
  • Export data to common data analysis packages – All data entered into REDCap can be automatically exported to Microsoft Excel, SAS, Stata, R, or SPSS for subsequent data analysis.
  • Ad hoc reporting – Custom queries can be created for generating reports to view or download.

GDPR compliance

REDCap can be used to collect data that is subject to GDPR. Consistent with the GPDR, stored data should be pseudonymized so that data cannot be attributed to a specific subject without additional information. In the ‘User Rights’ function in REDCap one can limit access for research members so that only the Principle Investigator (PI) can see and export identifiers from the dataset. REDCap can also remove identifiers from a dataset prior to exporting for analysis. Pseudonymized personal data is still subject to the GDPR.

It is the responsibility of each project owner to make sure that no sensitive personal data is shared with external users without proper agreements in place and that no personal data is stored in REDCap without first de-identifying the data.

Content reviewer: