The various theoretical considerations for the effects of quenched random fields (RF) on second-order transitions as well as the experimental situation are briefly reviewed. Some of the physical realizations of the RF models are discussed, with an emphasis on solid-state first-order transitions in impure systems. The physical arguments for the RF effects in the bulk as well as on phase interfaces are discussed. In the latter case it is suggested that scattering experiments can probe the details of the interface fluctuations. The role of long relaxation times and metastability in Ising RF systems is emphasized. © 1984 Plenum Publishing Corporation.