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Contextualize the writing sample?


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I have to submit two writing samples for one of my applications (namely, Oxford). I recently finished my undergraduate thesis and find this is the best source to extract a good piece of writing from. I am looking at submitting what I think to be my two strongest chapters. However, without having read other parts of the thesis, these might seem like they begin out of nowhere and without context.


Should I edit them as to set them within the context of my overall argument? Or should I include a "preface" to my writing sample explaining what I'm talking about?


Thanks for your help, fellow grads :)

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I normally propose one of two solutions, or a combination of the two:

- have a summary of the previous portions of the thesis, situating the chapters you are presenting in the broader context and explaining how they support the overarching argument(s) that you are making.

- submit the entire thesis, with the aforementioned summary, and instruct the readers to concentrate on chapters X and Y. That allows them to read more if they are interested, or just read the two chapters you have chosen otherwise. Choose this option only if the school will allow you to submit something longer than the required page limit, with the summary/explanation or what to concentrate on. Most will, but you should ask. 

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Thanks! The application requires that I submit two writing samples of 2000 words max., so I guess the second suggestion is out of the question. I also wouldn't want to have to translate the entirety of my thesis, it's given me enough headaches during the past few months!

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