Students will work on their research design by focusing on combining the right research question with the right theoretical and social relevance, as well as the right methodology of data collection and analytical framework. Also, they will enroll in courses offered to all Amsterdam PhD students on legal theory and research methods, as well as study specific topics related to regulation and fieldwork in China. At the end of the first year, an assessment takes place during which a decision is made whether the student can continue his/her research or not.
After the first year, students will spend at least one year doing fieldwork in a selected area or several areas in China. They do such fieldwork in order to learn how law actually functions and in order to find ways through which to decrease the gap between law in the books and law in practice.
Finally, during the last phase (generally the third and fourth year) of research, students analyse their fieldwork findings and publish these findings either in academic papers and/or thesis chapters.