Gathering reliable and valid information is the cornerstone of applicable research. Interviews provide a basis for collecting information about an individual's experiences, attitudes and beliefs. Yet interviews place significant demands on an individual's cognitive and linguistic skills. Such demands have implications for interviews with children and people with specific and general learning disabilities. In order to provide a range of views in research and practice specific attention must be paid to the mechanisms that limit participation or result in unreliable reports. This paper examines the ways in which studies of memory and language can provide relevant data to help interpret interviews and support the development of techniques to enhance the reliability and validity of the information provided.