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REDCap: Orca Search

Orca Search is an external module that can be enabled for most projects. It allows for enhanced searching within REDCap records and can replace the search query option currently accessed from the Add/Edit Records page (shown below).

Search query prior to enabling Orca Search

Orca Search can not only search your fields quicker, but it also allows searching in multiple choice fields - which the search query function cannot do. In addition, you will be able to select what fields show up, and how they are ordered, in the search results.  It is highly recommended to use Orca Search for projects that have more than 1,000 records.

Jump to a specific section below for more information:


Any user with Project Design & Setup access can enable the Orca Search module. (1) Within your project access the External Module section under Applications. (2) Look for the Orca Search Module and select Enable. (3) Once enabled, you need to Configure the module. This just means you'll set up which fields you want to search from and what will appear. If the module has already been enabled for your project and you just need to make changes to search or display fields, you will begin at step (3).

Steps to enable the Orca Search Module

The next screen will allow you to set up your module. We've broken this are down into 3 sections A, B, & C.

Configuration options for Orca Search

(A) The top section is for overall settings for the module.

    • Redirect Add/Edit Records to Module
      • Check this option if you would like to "replace" the Add/Edit Records page with this module. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO CHECK THIS OPTION for larger projects.
      • When a user clicks the link, they will be directed to the module's search page.

    • Limit the search results
      • The results can be restricted to 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, or No Limit. If the search results exceed that number, an error message will display and no results will show.

    • Which instances to search through (only applies to projects using repeating instances)
      • Latest - search only the most recent instances of forms.
      • All - all instances will be considered.
      • NOTE: Currently, the results table will always display the result from the latest instance, even if the matching value was found on a previous instance.

    • Show instance badge (only applies to projects using repeating instances)
      • A red badge icon will display in the data table, indicating which instance the displayed value was found.

    • Include DAG in results (only applies to projects using Data Access Groups)
      • An additional column will display in the results, indicating the Data Access Group that record belongs to.

  • Prevent an empty search from yielding results
    • Forces users to always provide a value when searching (e.g. can't leave the 'Search Text' field blank and press "Search"). This can be useful when you want to restrict access to records (i.e. MRN exact match).

(B) Searchable Fields: This section is to select the fields you would like to be able to search from. The fields added here will be available as a dropdown in the search module. This area defaults to only one field, but you can add as many searchable fields as you'd like using the + symbol in the top right corner.

    • Searchable Field Name - this dropdown includes most fields within your project. Just select which field you'd like to be able to search from.
      • This repeating configuration allows you to select the fields that you want to use as search fields.
      • Fields will display in the dropdown, in the order that exist in your project.
      • Fields that are select, radio, form status, etc., will display a dropdown instead of a text box, for filtering by value.

  • Return Partial Matches? - It is recommended that you select this option
    • This option allows you to do a 'wildcard' search on that field (i.e. searching wis in a state search will return results for Wisconsin)
    • NOTE: This option is ignored if the field type is radio, select, checkbox, or sql

Adding searchable fields and enabling partial match search

(C) Select the fields for display: This section is to select the fields you would like have appear in a table after you've done your search. This means you can have a search field (in section B), but not need it to appear in the table. Maybe you want to be able to search a first name field, but you don't need to have it displayed in the table.

    • Field to Display in the Results Table - this dropdown includes most fields within your project. Just select which field you'd like to see displayed in your results table.

    • Check if you wish to sort the table on this field. (e.g. sort a table by record_id number)

    • Fields will display in the dropdown, in the order that exist in your project.

    • Sort Direction
      • Options are None, Ascending or Descending

  • The order this sorted field should be applied in (a number between 1 and the number of columns in the results table)
Setting the order to display added fields in the search table

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To conduct a search, (1) enter the Add/Edit Records area. (2) Select which field you would like to search from in the "Select Search Field" dropdown. (3) Then type in the search term/name under "Search Text" and (4) then press “Search”. Your results will be displayed in a table and the last column (Record Home) has a link to take you to that record. Note: If you are searching in a multiple choice field, the Search Text field will also be a dropdown of the options in that list.

Steps to search using Orca Search

Example of a search.

Example output table of an Orca Search

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Add New Record

To add a new record when in the Orca Search Module (using Add/Edit Record link), you can select the "Add new record" button found within the search area.

Adding a new record

If your project has Arms, it is recommended that you add a new record by (1) navigating to the Record Status Dashboard, (2) selecting the arm tab you want to add a record to and then (3) selecting the "Add new record for this arm" button.

Adding a new record in a project that uses arms

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KeywordsREDCap, orca, search, module, query,   Doc ID109942
OwnerAmy S.GroupSMPH Research Informatics
Created2021-03-26 13:55:46Updated2024-04-02 07:50:49
SitesInstitute for Clinical and Translational Research, SMPH Research Informatics , SMPH Research Informatics TEST
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