If the performance of a diagnostic imaging system is to be evaluated objectively and meaningfully, one must compare radiologists' image-based diagnoses with actual states of disease and health in a way that distinguishes between the inherent diagnostic capacity of the radiologists' interpretations of the images, and any tendencies to "under-read" or "over-read". ROC methodology provides the only known basis for distinguishing between these two aspects of diagnostic performance. After identifying the fundamental issues that motivate ROC analysis, this article develops ROC concepts in an intuitive way. The requirements of a valid ROC study and practical techniques for ROC data collection and data analysis are sketched briefly. A survey of the radiologic literature indicates the broad variety of evaluation studies in which ROC analysis has been employed.