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:
- Criminal Forensic Assessment Certificate
- Child Custody Evaluation Certificate
- Civil Forensic Assessment Certificate
- Juvenile Forensic Assessment Certificate
- 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, 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, the preparation of affidavits and how their structure and substance differ from reports is tackled.
This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals
This on-demand professional training program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.
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
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...
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
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