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I need to do some research for some topics pertaining to a book I intend to write. The book involves the attempts at colonization in the Ashanti region of western Africa. Some of the information I need to assist in the development of this book would be as follows:

  • How long would it take to travel from England to western Africa in the late 1890's?
  • What would be the most likely route to travel from England to western Africa in the later 1890's?
  • What types of weapons did the British army use in the late 1890's?
  • What advanced educational opportunities were available to native Africans in the late 1890's?

I know that I could probably find these questions on my own if I spent enough time looking for them, but it would be helpful to me and other researchers to take advantage of the willingness of various subject matter experts to help find the information.

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    Y'know, it might be more effective if you just asked one or two of these, and then pointed folks back to this question in comments... – Shog9 Oct 19 '11 at 18:47
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    I think this is exactly what should be asked here. Questions that can be answered by looking up the topic on Wikipedia does not. :-) – Lennart Regebro Oct 26 '11 at 8:24
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I like all four of your sample questions. I think a core function of the site is to access reference material that you don't physical access to and leverage the community's enthusiasm to find what you looking for.

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As I went through some of the other questions on the site, I came across a few that I believe are research related, and that leads me to feel more comfortable about posting my questions. Of course, when you consider that the whole point of the beta as to identify what types of questions work best, I guess I will go ahead and start. Below are a couple of examples that have encouraged me to go ahead with it.

What was the life expectancy of an ancient roman child and adult?

What was the typical peasant's diet like in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

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If it's not something that's easily searchable, ie doesn't show up on the first page of a google search, then post the question. If you end up finding what you need then post what you found.

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