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Report Writing for Forensic Evaluation

Presented By Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP
Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP

10 hours | 10 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on Report Writing for Forensic Evaluations is presented by Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP. This badge-earning program can be shared digitally on platforms like LinkedIn or your resume and counts towards various certificates. Enroll to earn credit and share your new digital credentials with prospective employers and colleagues. This program counts as a foundational program in the certificates:

  1. Criminal Forensic Assessment Certificate
  2. Child Custody Evaluation Certificate
  3. Civil Forensic Assessment Certificate
  4. Juvenile Forensic Assessment Certificate
  5. Violence Risk Assessment Certificate

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, the opinions they formed, and the underlying reasoning. 

Thus, writing clear and concise reports is critical to 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 also considered. Finally, preparing affidavits and how their structure and substance differ from reports is tackled.

Intended Audience

This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training program 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.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program 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 for 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


Presented By

Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP

Randy Otto has been a faculty member in the Department of Mental Health Law & Policy at the University of South Florida in Tampa since 1989. As part of his responsibilities at USF, Dr. Otto trains mental health professionals, attorneys, and judges on various matters regarding the intersecti...


1. Introduction

2. Principles

3. Appropriate Data Exclusions and Inclusion

4. Evaluation, Logic, Reasoning, and Opinions are Transparent

5. Nuts and Bolts of Report Writing

6. Other Issues

7. Report Reviews

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

Expert Instructors

Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

CE Credit

Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

Convenience & Flexibility

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


Earn Certificates

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