10 Hours | 10 CEs

This self-paced training program on Report Writing for Forensic Evaluations is presented by Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP

Conducting well-constructed forensic psychological evaluations is not enough to persuade judges, attorneys, and other referral sources about the adequacy of one’s work and opinions. Reports and affidavits are the primary vehicles by which psychologists communicate to judges, attorneys, and others what data they considered, what actions they took, and the opinions they formed and the underlying reasoning. 

Thus, writing clear and concise reports is a critical component of most forensic psychologists’ practice. Research on forensic examiners’ report-writing practices is reviewed; how forensic practice guidelines, the ethics code, and rules of evidence and procedure shape reports are considered; principles for the organization and structure of forensic reports are proposed; and elements of good and bad reports are highlighted using multiple real-world examples from redacted reports.

 More focused matters such as the use of jargon; specificity in word choice; identifying sources of information; distinguishing between observation and inference; and common report writing errors are considered, as well. Finally, preparation of affidavits, and how their structure and substance differs from reports, is tackled.


Presented By

Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Randy Otto is a licensed psychologist and is board certified in clinical psychology and forensic psychology (ABPP). He has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989. Although his primary appointment is in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, he also teaches in the Departments of Psychology, Criminology, and Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. Dr. Otto’s work focuses on the involvement of mental health professionals in the legal system.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the various functions that reports and affidavits which summarize forensic evaluations serve

  • Describe reports that meet obligations imposed by common rules of evidence and rules of procedure

  • Describe reports that meet obligations imposed by the ethics code and related practice guidelines

  • Describe 3 reasons for, and the value of, including in forensic reports competing hypotheses, alternative explanations, and data that are inconsistent with one’s expert opinions

  • Describe reports that make clear distinctions between facts, assumptions, reasoning, opinions, and expert opinions, and describe the value of doing so

  • Describe jargon that is most typically included in reports and the advantages and disadvantages of including such

  • Describe reports that are jargon free

  • Describe common report writing errors

  • Describe test results in their reports in two different ways

  • Describe the primary purpose of affidavits and describe how they differ from reports in function and development

Collect Badges, Earn Certificates

This is a badge-earning course, which means it will help you earn a certificate that can be showcased on digital platforms like LinkedIn.

  • Intended Audience

    This on-demand workshop is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

  • Experience Level

    This on-demand workshop is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

  • CE / CPD Credit

    APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

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    Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!

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