Accelerating technological progress in experimental neuroscience is increasing the scale as well as specificity of both observational and perturbational approaches to study circuit physiology. While these techniques have also been used to study disease mechanisms, a wider adoption of these approaches in the field of experimental neurology would greatly facilitate our understanding of neurological dysfunctions and their potential treatments at cellular and circuit level. In this review, we will introduce classic and novel methods ranging from single-cell electrophysiological recordings to state-of-the-art calcium imaging and cell-type specific optogenetic or chemogenetic stimulation. We will focus on their application in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease while also presenting their use in the context of motor control and basal ganglia function. By highlighting the scope and limitations of each method, we will discuss how they can be used to study pathophysiological mechanisms at local and global circuit levels and how novel frameworks can help to bridge these scales.