Up to now the tendency in residual stress determination (using neutron diffraction) has been to assess the uncertainties in terms of the propagation of ‘fitting uncertainty’ of the Bragg peaks only. There are many other sources of uncertainty, some more obvious than others, that should be taken into account or at least be considered in terms of their impact when interpreting the data. These cover not just the instrument calibration and characteristics and the technique itself but also the properties of the sample. A discussion of how best to combine the uncertainty of all contributing factors will be made. These factors (on the sample side) will include variations in chemical composition, grain size related problems, surfaces/interfaces cutting through the sampling volume, texture variations within the sampling volume, presence of intergranular strains (plastic anisotropy) etc. The knowledge of appropriate elastic constants, for example, and their uncertainty is necessary for a more reliable stress determination. One should also be aware of the more subtle influences on the elastic constants such as texture or chemical variation. This should be a step in the right direction for a ‘unified uncertainty analysis’ covering all possible aspects of uncertainty in residual stress determination using neutron diffraction.