Tunable, pulsed radiation sources in the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared wavelength ranges offer novel opportunities for investigating laser-induced biomedical effects. Free-electron lasers (FELs) deliver continuously tunable, pulsed radiation in the infrared, providing the capability to selectively target radiation into the vibrational modes of water or other biopolymers. Experimental techniques for measuring the absorption spectra of biological samples are described. These spectra indicate wavelengths that potentially serve as the basis for laser-induced biomedical effects. Some practical considerations for infrared, visible, and UV spectroscopy of biological samples are summarized, and the connection between biomedical research and more fundamental investigations of vibrational energy transfer are emphasized.