Control and manipulation of residual stresses in thin films is a key for attaining coatings with high mechanical and tribological performance. It is therefore imperative to have reliable residual stress measurements methods to further understand the dynamics involved. The sin2ψ method of X-ray diffraction was used to investigate the residual stresses on the tungsten carbide cobalt thin films deposited on a mild steel surface to understand the how the deposition parameters influence the generation of residual stresses within the substrate surface. X-ray spectra of the surface revealed an amorphous phase of the thin film therefore the stress measured was of the substrate surface and the effects of sputtering parameters on residual stress were analysed. Compressive stresses were identified within all samples studied. The results reveal that as the sputtering parameters are varied, the residual stresses also change. Optimum deposition parameters in terms of residual stresses were suggested.