stacscheck for ethics

The University’s ethics approval process for teaching and research projects involves the completion of various forms. Some of these forms are long and complex which leads to confusion on the part of applicants and the submission of incorrectly-filled forms. To this end I (as Ethics Convener) have provided some additional guidance in the CS handbook.

Hopefully you are all familiar with stacscheck; this project will develop an equivalent automated checker for checking ethics forms. This should help both applicants and reviewers.

The project will:

  • develop a schema for the ethics application form
  • build a tool that can parse a completed ethics Word form and validate it
  • provide guidance for both applicants and reviewers about how to improve the application

Other possibilities include:

  • automatically updating the schema when the form is updated
  • a user study with real ethics applicants (this would be subject to its own ethics application, and would probably require participants from other Schools given the nature of our project timetable)
  • a user interface to accept forms and provide guidance
  • and no doubt other functionality depending on the particular student’s interests



  • tool to validate ethics forms
  • evaluation on some dummy and real applications (latter will be subject to ethics approval)