SignalBox’s Roles and Responsibilities

Role and Permissions

Signalbox defines 4 roles, each of which have set of permissions.

  • Researchers
  • Research assistants
  • Assessors
  • Clinicians

In addition, the documentation refers to:

  • Participants/Patients

However participants are not a distinct group within the system - a participant just needs to be a registered User of the site. Note researchers, clinicians etc. may also be participants. Also see Membership types .


All users of the system are stored as django django.auth.User objects. We use the standard django authentication mechnisms to log people in and track session state (this uses a cookie for identification, but all the data gets stored in the DB). SignalBox roles are defined using Django’s Group models (see for more details.)


for many studies, the only types of users which will be required are Researchers and Participants.

Role based permissions

Permissions for many views within the site are determined by group memberships.


Researchers have pretty much full access to data and functionality within the site. They don’t need to be a superuser within the django auth system though. Examples of things only researchers need to be able to do are resolving duplicate replies for observations (i.e. picking a canonical reply, see Collecting data from participants), and exporting data (exporting_data).

Research assistants

For large trials, Research Assistant’s help administer participants and memberships, but do not have full access to participant data. Research assistants can:

  • Add a new user to the system (e.g. enter details for a patient who has just been recruited)
  • Add a user to a study (create a membership)
  • See a list of observations outstanding
  • Enter data for a specific observation
  • Add notes to a patient (on the patient dashboard page)


Assessors are responsible for collating data from patients, often in interviews, and are typically blind to the condition a participant has been assigned to. Assessors have only limited access to the site, because much of the data stored from participant self reports would reveal which condition a participant was in.

Assessors can:

  • Find a given participant
  • See that observations which are due for participants
  • See observations which are overdue
  • Enter data for an observation


Clinicians treating patients may use the system in several ways:

  1. By adding treatment records and other clinical data
  2. By taking part in sub-studies in which they record data about other participants (see Membership types).

In theory clinicians may or may not be blind to the allocation of patients (although in the Reframed study they will not be blind).

Clinicians should have no access to research data (i.e. information about observations due/overdue). They will need to:

  • Find a particular participant
  • Add a TreatmentRecord for a treatment session
  • Complete an ad-hoc questionnaire attached to a TreatmentRecord
  • Send messages to patients
  • Add notes to patients (patient_dashboard)