I'd like to follow the lead of George H. Williams and Chuck Tryon, but I'd also like to do something a bit more specific. If you'll permit me to generalize about a generalization, gentle reader, most commentators on the current scholarly climate confuse that which is most visible (the 100-odd Ph.D.-granting institutions) with that which is statistically normal (the 1000+ rest of us). Since institutions exert considerable influence on the kinds of scholarship that an academic can produce--and, by "influence," I don't necessarily mean political influence--it's worth spelling out what separates us from the Research I/II crowd.
My own generalizations derive from a) my own experience at a small comprehensive with a nine-hour teaching load, b) my father's experience at a large comprehensive with a twelve-hour teaching load, and c) my discussions with colleagues at similar institutions, both public and private. These generalizations can be further inflected, however, by talking about the research environments at some small private colleges and church-affiliated schools; for example, a few years ago, I met a respected political scientist at a small, well-known liberal arts college whose colleagues had tried to scupper his tenure bid not because he hadn't published anything, but because he had.
Numbers (1). For tenure, my own department requires a scant handful of articles (about 4 would do it; this includes articles in press) and book reviews, but no book. (We also count conference presentations toward requirements for scholarship, which may be unusual.) As we've discovered during job searches, departments at equivalent institutions often have much lighter requirements--perhaps an article or two, or, in some cases, no publications at all. By contrast, a Research I or II will normally ask for a book plus articles plus reviews.
Numbers (2). I teach a 3-3 load; my father has been teaching 3-3-3, with each course running 4 hours instead of 3; and I know people who teach 4-4 or even 5-5. At the University of Chicago, however, faculty teach some version of 1-2-1, while faculty at the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor, UCLA, UCSB, etc., do 2-2. For obvious reasons, the more you teach, the more creative you have to get about finding time to write. The flip side, of course, is that the less you teach, the more you're expected to write...
Numbers (3). To maintain a credible (and accredited) Ph.D. program, a Research I or II needs a library of around 2,500,000-3,000,000 books. The biggest and wealthiest programs will have at least double that number, plus microfilms, periodicals, and so forth. At a non-research campus, however, those numbers drop off like a cliff. (I interviewed at one campus with a collection the size of an average public library branch site.) Scholars at small schools in out-of-the-way locations suffer real handicaps in terms of access not just to the current scholarship, but also to the primary literature.
Numbers (4). The only ways to compensate for a non-research library are to travel or to build your own collection. But faculty development grants are often either small or hard to come by, and it can be difficult to compete with Research I/II faculty when it comes to applying for outside grants. (Hence the NEH's decision to put 4-yr college faculty into their own grant pool.) The lucky among us are those who live in cities with easily-accessed major collections (e.g., Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles).
Freedom. Lest I make it seem that pursuing scholarly work at a comprehensive or smaller school is all misery, no fun, let me point out that we have one significant advantage: our departments are far less likely to exert pressure on our choice of topics, methods, and the like. When the attitude to scholarship is not "what have you published?" but "wow, you've published," then there's far more room to experiment or even to move into different fields altogether. Moreover, since we're under considerably less pressure to publish than scholars at big research campuses, it's easy to develop a comfortable working rhythm. One doesn't have to churn, chug, or whatever else you want to call it.
Right now, I'm in the middle of finishing two articles, collecting sources for a third, and (over a very long haul) thinking about a chapter for my second book. As I go through the semester, I'll offer some "meta" comments about my own practice.