This article focuses primarily on what an analyst should know about applying X-ray diffraction (XRD) residual stress measurement techniques to failure analysis. Discussions are extended to the description of ways in which XRD can be applied to the characterization of residual stresses in a component or assembly. The article describes the steps required to calibrate instrumentation and to validate stress measurement results. It presents a practical approach to sample selection and specimen preparation, measurement location selection, and measurement depth selection, as well as an outline on measurement validation. The article also provides information on stress-corrosion cracking and corrosion fatigue. The importance of residual stress in fatigue is described with examples. The article explains the effects of heat treatment and manufacturing processes on residual stress. It concludes with a section on the XRD stress measurements in multiphase materials and composites and in locations of stress concentration.