Previous studies suggest that results from specification searches, as typically employed in structural equation modeling, should not be used to reach strong research conclusions due to their poor reliability. Analyses of computer generated data indicate that search results can be sufficiently reliable for exploratory purposes with properly designed and analyzed studies.
Green, Samuel B. and Thompson, Marilyn S.
"Can Specification Searches Be Useful for Hypothesis Generation?,"
Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods: Vol. 9
, Article 16.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/jmasm/vol9/iss1/16