Report Writing for Forensic Evaluation

Report Writing for Forensic Evaluation


10 Hours | 10 CEs (CEUs)

Program Description

This self-paced training program on Report Writing for Forensic Evaluations is presented by Dr. Randy Otto.

It focuses on conducting well-constructed forensic psychological evaluations and how it is not enough to persuade judges, attorneys, and other referral sources. Examiners must also be able to effectively communicate what data they considered, what actions they took, and the opinions they formed and underlying reasoning. Because psychologists, in most cases, do not testify about their work, reports and affidavits are the vehicles they must use. Research on forensic examiners’ report-writing practices is reviewed; how forensic practice guidelines, the ethics code, and rules of evidence and procedure shape reports is considered; principles for the organization and structure of forensic reports are identified; elements of good (and bad) reports are highlighted using multiple examples. 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.

The fee for this training program is $250 and includes all materials.

Intended Audience

This course is relevant for professionals who want to obtain or strengthen skills in report writing; including those involved in civil and criminal forensic mental health assessment, forensic inpatient, human resources social services, community settings, and those who work at the intersection of clinical psychology and law. This training program is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:


  • Describe the primary purposes of reports and affidavits that summarize their forensic evaluations
  • Describe the different functions of reports and affidavits
  • Describe common legal requirements of reports summarizing forensic psychological examinations
  • Describe APA’s ethics code and forensic practice guidelines shape reports summarizing forensic psychological evaluations
  • Describe 3 reasons to include competing hypotheses, disconfirmatory data, and alternative explanations in their reports
  • Practice writing reports that distinguish case facts and their inferences and opinions
  • Describe 2 ways to describe psychological test results in their reports
  • Describe definitions for various psychological constructs using language that is understandable to a lay audience
  • Describe common report writing errors
  • About Dr. Randy Otto

    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. In 2007, he joined USF colleagues John Petrila and Norm Poythress as a contributor to the third edition of Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professional and Lawyers. In 2013, the Handbook of Forensic Psychology, which he edited with Irv Weiner, was published. In 2014, with Rick DeMier and Marc Boccaccini, he published a book on expert testimony and report writing, Forensic Reports and testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologist and Psychiatrists.

    Dr. Otto has been on the editorial boards of a number of journals, and has served as President of the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Board of Forensic Psychology. He is current President of the American Board of Professional Psychology.

    Dr. Otto chaired the committee that revised the APA Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology and he also served on the American Bar Association Task Force that revised that organization’s Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and he has received awards for his professional contributions from the Society for Personality Assessment, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, the New York State Psychological Association, and the University of California-San Francisco.

    When not at work or with his family, he is likely to be found on a motorcycle or at a casino (testing risk and probability theory).

    This course is designed for all mental health professionals who wants to learn Report Writing in Forensic Evaluations. This course is an excellent means of strengthening skills related to report writing.


    Participants will learn about conducting well-constructed forensic psychological evaluations and how it is not enough to persuade judges, attorneys, and other referral sources
    – Brief audience survey
    – Select references
    – Disclaimers
    – Common Errors
    – Purposes and rationales

    Report Writing

    Participants will learn about identifying sources of information; distinguishing between observation and inference; and common report writing errors.
    – Report formats
    – Report logistics
    – Report reviews
    – Report Writing Exercises
    – Affidavits and interrogatories
    – Affidavit and interrogatory reviews

    “This is an excellent course and has really made me think about the jargon I use, dis-complication, and the audience for which the report is intended. Thank you.” -Correctional Psychologist (PhD)

    “The information is very useful and Dr. Otto is an excellent speaker. The course touches on the misuse of information that could have damaging effects to the defendant, which was very informative” –Social Worker (LCSW)

    “The program and delivery are excellent. The course was excellent and I have gained knowledge from the information. I will take additional courses.” –Forensic Psychologist (PsyD)


    Continuing Education Credit

    This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CEs you are required to complete all course materials, quizzes, and the evaluation. No partial credit is available. A score of 70% is required to proceed; you will be able to re-take any quiz on which you score less than 70%. Participants will earn 10 CE hours upon completion of these requirements. Each participant will be able to download and print the CE certificate upon completion of the final evaluation.

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

    Your satisfaction with our programs, products and services is important to us; however, because these are immediately made available to you upon registration and payment, we do not issue refunds. Should you find that a particular program, product or service is not the right fit for you, we will assist you in crediting your registration towards another one of our offerings that might better suit you.

    We specialize in training groups — from a handful to hundreds — and are happy to contact you to discuss your group training needs.

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