This paper outlines ongoing research investigating students’ approaches to quantitative and qualitative problem solving in physics. This is an empirical study, which was conducted using a phenomenographic approach to analyse and interpret data from individual semi-structured interviews with students from introductory physics courses. The result of the study thus far is a preliminary set of hierarchical categories that describe the students’ problem-solving approaches when faced with various physics problems. The findings from the research presented here indicate that many introductory students in higher education do not approach problem solving in a strategic manner and many do not try to link or use their physics knowledge in order to solve problems.