How can I tell the difference between primary and secondary sources?

A primary source gives you direct access to the subject of your research. Secondary sources provide second-hand information and commentary from other researchers. Examples include journal articles, reviews, and academic books. A secondary source describes, interprets, or synthesizes primary sources

It might be challenging to determine whether a source is primary or secondary. In some cases, it's evident that the primary source is the actual wording of the statute you're referring to. What about an interpretation of that statute, though? It is a primary source to reference in your essay about the impact that law will have because it originates from the organization charged with implementing the law and plainly describes the law.

Nope. Unless your writing is specifically focused on the interpretative statement, such as an essay evaluating how the legislation is being presented to voters through the agency's choice of wording for the interpretive statement, an interpretive statement is essentially a secondary source.

The question "What is this about?" is the simplest approach to determine if a source is primary or secondary. Consider performing a The Things They Carried literary analysis. This analytical essay is a secondary source because it is based on a book. Due to the fact that The Things They Carried is a collection of semi-autobiographical short tales by an author who had served in Vietnam, it might also be a useful secondary source for a paper on the conflict.