First, describe why it is so important to adopt a multilevels of analysis orientation. Then, integrate the schemes for multiple levels of analysis described by Seidman, Bronfenbrenner, and Maton, selecting those level descriptors you believe make the most sense.
One of the reasons why the adoption of a multilevels of analysis orientation is important pertains to the fact that an individual does not live as a separate entity in a society; rather he or she lives in a complex social systems where many levels or types of interaction exist. It becomes important practice then to employ systematic point of view in observing individual behavior and its interaction with societal systems. The heavy focus in the theory of human development at individual levels (e.g., personality traits, human self-systems, etc) and the scientific study conducted within the realm of laboratory, home, or classroom (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) in the past psychological literature have been failing to take possible interactions between human and social contexts into consideration and, thus, enabling to provide a complete picture of human in context (i.e., human in real world) in the psychological literature.
Another reason, and most importantly, for the adoption of this analysis to be crucial is that the multilevel analyses help researchers or evaluators designing possible intervention plans based on the findings of the analyses, addressing the sources (or causes) of problems as being a certain misinteraction between person and environment. In a community setting where individuals or groups desiring to change, interventions is most likely to be successful when the settings are intervened, instead of the individuals. Given that persons are embedded in community, it is highly plausible that the change of individuals’ behavior occur as a function of the community change where individuals reside in. The change in individuals’ behavior, in turn, may promote group-level change (e.g., reciprocity), resulting in promoting dynamic transformation of social systems.
Various conceptualizations in explaining human behavior in relations to social systems have been proposed based on the framework including social regularity (Seidman, 1988), ecological validity (Bronfenbrenner, 1977), and social transformation (Maton, 2000). Although the scope of these frameworks in depicting complex social structures vary from the individual-levels to the world-levels across these three frameworks, the target of community-oriented research is portrayed commonly across the three; that is microsystems or settings (i.e., persons in relationship) and mesosystems or community (i.e., systems of microsystems). More specifically, the focus of microsystems lies in within a system, while that of mesosystems exisits in interaction between one system to another (Seidman, 1988). Central to the purpose of this categorization is that it gives frameworks as well as clearly defined unit of analysis of how the research or interventions target look like. It is a common practice for community-oriented researchers to view certain settings as being nested and these settings as being hierarchically linked to the higher-order systems (i.e., mesosystems). Thus, an attempt to integrate schema for wthin/between and lower/higher level systems may include the combination of the top-down and bottom-up approaches, with individuals’ behavior influencing their community mediated by several microsystems, while community impacting the individuals’ behavior. This attempt may be similar to the concept of reciprocity (e.g., person Û community) discussed by researchers including Bronfenbrenner (1977), however the attempt can give clear distinction from one process (i.e., person Þ community) to the other (i.e., community Þ person), thus capable of providing rather solid conceptualization for each process. This distinction may particularly be helpful in designing and conducting a community research.