I'm designing a workforce training project and am in the process of collecting the initial user feedback. While I'm an experienced survey designer and data scientist, I'm new to user experience and design.

I'd love to some feedback (and research references) on my approach.

The project messages low-skill contract workers and offers to help them find higher-skill work. We're exploring what kind of coaching, financial and other support they may need on their occupational journal through our curriculum and to their first paid gigs.

My initial ideas would be to

  1. Conduct an exploratory interview with a small set of initial users (maybe 5), asking broad open-ended questions about their thoughts on the project and their needs.

  2. Then develop a semi-structured survey instrument that asks a series of short answer or multiple-choice questions, with a follow up for open-ended feedback.

I could develop these intuitively, but I haven't seen any good stock questions or research that points to experimentally tested best practices for user input interviews. I'm especially worried about asking leading questions that biases the responses, but I haven't seen any exact question wording or techniques that are known to get around this issue.

Thanks for any leads to study references or thoughts on how this phase should be conducted.

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