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Writing Useful, Accessible, and Legally Defensible Psychoeducational Reports by Michael Hass, Jeanne Anne Carriere

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Chapter 4Step-by-Step, How Do I Write Useful and Legally Defensible Reports?

In the prior chapters, we have made a case, hopefully a convincing one, for showing rather than telling readers you have met legal mandates, making reports more useful for the consumers, and why we advocate for the use of a referral-based, question-driven format that integrates data and responds directly to consumers’ concerns. In this chapter, we will examine each section of our proposed referral-based report and discuss step-by-step how to write a report using this structure. Where needed, we will discuss how this differs from what you might see in traditional test-by-test or domain-driven reports. There are several examples of full reports in Appendix II. It may be helpful for you to review some of these prior to reading how to structure a referral-based, question-driven report.

As we proceed, we want to remind you of several strategies, introduced in Chapter 3, that are overarching and perhaps not directly connected to the format you use to write your reports. These include using simpler language and reducing jargon, reducing boilerplate or generic statements, and carefully considering the level of detail needed to communicate with your intended audience.

How Do I Clearly Communicate the Purpose of the Evaluation?

The Reason for Referral section of the report communicates the background and rationale for the evaluation. In other words, the reader should know from reading the Reason for Referral ...

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