In survival analysis, frailty models are potential choices for modeling unexplained heterogeneity in a population. This tutorial presents an overview and general framework of frailty modeling and estimation for multiplicative hazards models in the context of biomedical and genetic studies. Other topics in frailty models, such as diagnostic methods for model adequacy and inference in frailty models, are also discussed. Examples of analyses using multivariate frailty models in a non-parametric hazards setting on biomedical datasets are provided, and the implications of choosing to use frailty and relevance to genetic applications are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.