Researchers improve the quality of survey questions by pretesting questionnaires before using the items on a chosen sample. One of the pretest methods that has emerged in the last 30 years is cognitive interviewing. Its purpose is to study respondent's mental processes while answering survey questions. In the article, we provide an overview of the development of cognitive laboratory methods and of the techniques of cognitive interviewing; in addition, we analyse and evaluate the classifications of these methods. Following a systematic review, we assess the key disadvantages of the development and use of cognitive laboratory methods.